Anybody who's spent an afternoon walking around Upper Street, iBook in hand, trying to log on to Islington council's "Technology Mile" service may smirk, but a new report says Londoners are the most wifi-happy people on the planet.
According to the Wi-Fi Hotspot Index, networks set up by the likes of BT and The Cloud in London account for one tenth of the UK's wireless usage, and just over 1% of the worldwide total – outranking Chicago, New York and even technology boomtown San Francisco, which musters barely 0.3 percent. Though the concentration is highest in the City, it seems that we have all become used to taking our work out of the home or office (or just surfing eBay for skinny jeans whilst sipping a latte) and into the wilds of the London street. Be damned, risk of laptop theft / surly glances from East End hardmen / pigeon poop getting into the circuitry!
Londonist loves wifi. But we love free wifi even more, and our wifi hotspot map is the best way of hunting down a safe, cosy connection for your laptop that won't involve Starbucks stinging your pocket for a fiver or a visit from the boys in blue.
While we can smugly pat ourselves on the back for our technical savviness, the honeymoon may not last. WiMax, the next-generation wireless technology, has been held back by legal wrangles between the mobile networks, service providers and Ofcom. The fight over standards, as reported recently in the Guardian, is threatening to hold things up indefinitely. If London is to keep our place at the head of the pack, these issues need to be worked through, and soon.
By Dean Nicholas.
Image courtesy of a shadow of my future self.