London’s mega hotzone


London is a massive city – 10 million people and much more sprawling than New York or even San Francisco Bay Area. So perhaps a tiny sliver of it is now a hot zone should not be big news. Still, I think the idea of free Internet access for folks who walk down “The Technology Mile” is a good start for all big cities. It is a perfect example of city governments and commercial interests coming together and still keeping in mind that is all about the end user. I like the fact that Islington Borough Council is using WiFi as a tool for economic regeneration of an urban area. More here


Om Malik

David … thanks for that candid review. quite nicely done. I look forward to occassional updates on this.

David Smith

I live near Upper St. and sometimes use Islington’s StreetNet. Contrary to the press release, StreetNet’s useable range is limited, as the APs are placed on sidewalks some distance from cafes, bars, or other places where a computer user might actually boot up. I first discovered the network when waiting for a bus near one of the APs and I did a WiFi scan on my Palm Tungsten C. The service works fairly well (802.11b) within about 50′ of the APs but reception is spotty or non-existent in many places along Upper St. At Tinderbox, a non-chain coffee cafe not far from the Angel tube station, sit along the bar in the front so your WiFi antenna can pick up the signal (weak reception around – 80db). The nearest AP is about 100′ away so you need to move the laptop/antenna to get useable signal. I’ve used this when the shop’s own WiFi service is not operating, or operating poorly. I’d really like to know how many people actually use this service – I have never seen anyone with a laptop or PDA actually logging in near one of the APs – people might be using the service from within nearby buildings. On the whole, a useful service but not a replacement for GPRS or other wide area data services.

Om Malik

oh oh… i did not know the whole bars bit. damn. here i was going on and on about urban renewal. oh well.

Colin Donald

As someone who lives within walking distance of this and also used to write B2B advertising about urban regeneration, I find the project, well, strange.

Upper Street is a leisure district, with almost nothing but bars and restaurants. The streets off it have upper-middle class households. So people are using WiFi when bar hopping?

There are plenty of poor communities close by – but I suppose WiFi for the elderly and community centres doesn’t make for a sexy press release.

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