BT UK to trial London Underground Wi-Fi

UK internet service provider BT has invited some of its customers to take part in a trial of a new London Underground Wi-Fi service.

The trial will start in mid-March of this year, running for approximately 3 weeks. It follows a similar announcement from EE, which announced it would join related trials on the underground network with TfL (Transport for London), also starting in March.

Customers taking part in BTs trial will be given a month’s credit for the number they use, to be applied after the trial and subject to feedback.

TfL aims to make 4G available across the entirety of its London Underground network by the mid-2020s, starting with a limited pilot scheme running on the Jubilee Line between Canning Town and Westminster.

It is hoped that a procurement for a concessionaire agreement for 4G connectivity across the Underground network will be drawn up by summer of this year.

This initial pilot will be used to test the network for bugs, which can then be eliminated ahead of further expansion across the underground. This will also include Wi-FI availability on board trains, although the BT trial does not mention on-board connectivity.

Following the announcement in December last year that EE would join TfL’s 4G pilot on the Underground network, BT Consumer Division CEO Marc Allera said: “We are delighted to formally join the TfL 4G on the Underground trial, connecting our customers between Westminster and Canning Town. This trial is the start of a huge step forward for London.”

At present, 260 London Underground stations are covered by Wi-FI, following a Virgin Media deployment, and can currently be connected to by customers at O2, Three UK, EE and Vodafone.

Meanwhile, 79 stations on the London Overground network are currently connected to The Cloud via Sky. A Wi-Fi pass system is in place for people who aren’t members of the aforementioned networks.