Wi-fi for everyone!

There are so many wonderful things these days in the world of technology. We have computers in our phones, video chat, mobile browsing, and all the things we spent the 1990s looking forward to. There's just one dream that's as yet unfulfilled - free public wi-fi.

When wi-fi was first introduced there was much talk of cities providing free municipal networks. But nothing really happened. Sure, the likes of The Cloud and BTOpenzone built networks you could access from pretty much anywhere. But they charge vaguely extortionate rates for getting online, making it cheaper to use 3G data. That's bad news in a country whose 3G networks are dangerously overloaded.

Now Virgin Media reckon they've got the answer. To release the pressure on their own 3G network for Virgin Mobile, they're launching a massive London-wide new Wi-Fi service. Powered by transmitters in their underground cable stations, the service will offer everyone free wi-fi over Virgin Media's fast cable internet.

There's a catch, of course, but it's a bearable one: the network will, as a rule, be limited to an unimpressive 0.5Mbps per second, no faster than mobile data. But Virgin say their customers will be able to log in to get a faster connection of a not at all disrespectable 10Mbps.

There's no word yet on when we'll see this new network popping up on our phones as we travel around the capital, but we like the sound of it very much...

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