We went out and had a quick play with this at lunchtime. Ambling along Tottenham Court Road, we took out an iPhone and checked the available signals; the Free Nokia Wifi appeared straight away, although it took about a minute for the device to connect. A couple of simple registration screens later, and we were on the internet.
From our brief test the speed appeared decent enough, certainly on par with the better areas of 3G coverage in London. We navigated to the iPlayer to test out streaming video, but it didn’t work; whether it’s been blocked, or the signal wasn’t strong enough, wasn’t immediately clear.
Finnish phone firm Nokia today announced the launch of a free wifi network in central London on a two-month trial basis.
As of today, 26 hotspots in central London, each based in a phone booth operated by Spectrum Interactive, have gone live, and can be accessed by anybody possessed of a wifi-enabled device. The bandwidth promised is 20 megabits per second (Mbps), but downloads will be throttled at 1Mbps. No registration or sign-in is required, but users will need to acquiesce to a set of terms and conditions.
A map of the 26 hotspots is above. Should the trial, which will run until the end of 2011, prove successful, Nokia say they might launch up to 1,000 hotspots across the city next year.
This is but the latest in a number of initiatives to make wireless connectivity the norm for London. Wifi has been promised for the Olympics, the buses, the Tube, and pubs, while the likes of BT Openzone and The Cloud purport to offer wifi networks that (in our experience) rarely work. Beyond that there are still plenty of places around town that offer free wifi, as our ever-popular map and iPhone app are testament to.
We’ll nip out at lunch to test the new hotspots and report back on how they work.