by Dan Worth
V3.co.uk 25th July 2012
O2 has announced that its free cross-London Wi-Fi network is now live, just in times for the Olympics Games, offering residents and visitors alike a chance to get online during the event.
The plan for the network was unveiled at the start of the year in conjunction with the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea and will cover key areas across central London including Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Covent Garden.
The areas around High Street Kensington and Exhibition Road will also be included in the network.
The network is being run at no extra cost to the taxpayer, with adverts from stores in the locations of Wi-Fi hotspots used to part-fund the rollout. The adverts will display based on the location of the use, with house of Fraser the first exclusive advertiser on the network.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, welcomed the announcement as another vital element of boosting London's technology infrastructure in time for the Olympics.
"With millions of extra people coming to town for the Games, we want to ensure we showcase the capital as the best city in the world to work and visit," he said.
"The addition of free Wi-Fi to some of our most popular landmarks is crucial in helping to maintain that reputation."
O2 confirmed to V3 that the network would remain free after the Olympics.
The rollout is one of several key Wi-Fi provisions for the Games, with BT offering over 1,000 access points across the Olympics Park in Stratford and Virgin Media bringing Wi-Fi to the London Underground.