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Good connection: London Tube get WiFi for Olympics

By Danica Kirka
Associated Press / March 14, 2012
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LONDON—Now you definitely won't miss your connection on London's famous Tube network.

Visitors to London for the Olympics need not worry about being out of touch on the Underground after London Mayor Boris Johnson selected Virgin media on Wednesday to provide WiFi for the city's subway system during the Olympics.

Johnson's office said in a statement that WiFi will be introduced at 80 stations before summer. By the end of the year, 120 Tube stations, many of them deep-level, will be connected.

"Millions of passengers will now be able to connect to their work, friends or access the latest news and travel information whilst on the move," Johnson said in the statement. "This is a fabulous new and free resource which will be in place from this summer when London is being showcased on a global stage and playing host to millions."

Starting in July, Tube passengers will be able to connect for free. After the Olympics, WiFi at Tube stations will be made available as part of Virgin Media's broadband and mobile subscriptions.

It is unclear, however, how much the contract for the service was worth. The mayor's office refused to disclose the contract's value, describing it as "commercially sensitive."

Transport for London official Gareth Powell said the move means Tube passengers will now have access to emails, web and social media underground for the first time. The contract does not cover cell phone service.

"We're upgrading the Tube to make it fit for the 21st century," said Powell, TFL's director of strategy and service development. "This latest innovation is great news for Tube customers."

The Olympics start July 27 and end Aug. 12.

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Danica Kirka can be reached at http://twitter.com/DanicaKirka

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