SiliconFilter

London Gets “Europe’s Largest Free WiFi Zone” Ahead of 2012 Olympics

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Not too long ago, a number of cities in the U.S. were experimenting with offering free WiFi to its citizens. Most of these projects were launched just as the recession was about to hit and quite a few of them were quickly abandoned as the money well dried up. While we haven't heard much about new city-wide projects in the U.S. since then, London is about to get what its backers call "Europe's biggest WiFi zone."

This network will cover central London and will be provided by mobile carrier O2. Timed to coincide with the 2012 Olympics in the city and the Diamond Jubilee, O2 plans to cover "Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea."

Installation of the hardware has already started and the roll-out should be complete by March.

Olympic Class WiFi?

It'll be interesting to see if this network will be able to handle the traffic generated by millions of visitors when the 2012 Olympics start. Given that many of them will try to offload their data connections to WiFi instead of paying for roaming costs (and maybe even attempt to make the odd Skype call now and then), it's hard to imagine that the network will be able to hold up.



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Skype to Offer Free Wifi in Over 50 U.S. Airports This Holiday Season

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A few years ago, Google teamed up with a number of airports in the U.S. to provide travelers with free WiFi during the holidays. This year, it's Skype's turn to make a similar offer. From December 21st thru December 27th, Skype (and, by extension, Microsoft), will offer free access to third-party WiFi hotspots through its Skype WiFi program in over 50 airports all across the U.S. Given that you have to use either Skype for Windows or Mac, or the Skype WiFi app for iOS, this is obviously also a promotion for this service, which the company introduced a few months ago.

This promotion includes virtually all of the major U.S. airports (and quite a few smaller ones) that don't currently offer free WiFi.

Skype's offer is obviously less generous than Google's past promotions (which was valid until January 15th), but if you are traveling during the holidays, now is probably a good time to install Skype's WiFi app on your laptop or iOS device.

Outside of this promotion, Skype WiFi can be a good option if you find yourself in need for a quick Internet fix, but don't need a full hour to just download your email, for example. Prices start at $0.06 per minute, though the app will provide you with the exact pricing depending on whose WiFi network you are using and where you are.



4:26 pm