O2 and its joint venture with Vodafone, Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Ltd (CTIL), are rolling out a new wireless network featuring Wi-Fi and small cells in the City of London.
CTIL has been handed a 15-year contract by the City of London Corporation to roll out and manage the Wi-Fi network, which will be free to the public after a one-time registration.
O2 will provide the network core for the Wi-Fi and mobile networks. CTIL, which was set up in 2012 by Vodafone and Telefónica to manage the network sites for both companies, will provide the passive physical infrastructure,.
The Wi-Fi network replaces the existing Cloud service from Sky and will be operational in the autumn of this year.
In addition, 4G-connected small cells built by CTIL will be housed in street furniture, such as lamp posts, street signs, buildings and CCTV columns, across the Square Mile.
CTIL will offer these on a wholesale basis to all UK operators in a bid to enhance their mobile coverage in the area.
Malcolm Collins, Managing Director, CTIL, said: “Small cells will be key as operators look to support the growing needs of customers. We will offer an innovative wholesale solution that will enable them to do so efficiently and effectively."
The Corporation claimed the new network would be more “technically advanced” than those found in other leading global financial centres.
Mark Boleat, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Policy and Resources Committee said: “Free, reliable, high-speed wireless internet is a must for any modern, competitive financial centre. Soon, residents, visitors and workers in the City will be able to enjoy uninterrupted wireless connectivity, and this project should ensure that wireless ‘black spots’ in the Square Mile become a thing of the past.”
Derek McManus, Chief Operating Officer at O2 UK added: “Continued investment in infrastructure is essential to maintain the UK’s reputation as a digital leader.
"Connectivity plays a central role in supporting the future growth of our economy, enabling us to communicate and trade more easily, attracting overseas business and creating new jobs.”