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London to get more spectrum, Tube Wi-Fi for Olympics

updated 04:20 pm EST, Tue January 24, 2012

Ofcom and TfL to brace London for Olympic data

Two organizations are working to brace London's mobile data networks for the expected impact of the summer Olympics this year. Regulator Ofcom has planned to increase the amount of available wireless spectrum for 3G in the city. Among the efforts, it plans to borrow airwave access from government bodies like the Ministry of Defence, to exploit unlicensed bands, and to use frequencies going up for auction but which won't be used until 2013.

Trials of the expansion have already been underway at numerous public events, including the Silverstone Grand Prix and the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

In sync, TfL has explained to the Telegraph that it will be rolling out Wi-Fi at the 120 stations in the London Underground. It too follows a trial, at the Charing Cross station, and will have an Internet provider picked with "plenty of time" for the Olympics.

Both expansions may be necessary. Ofcom anticipates 26,000 members of the press alone to descend on the area. Combined with local residents, athletes, and merchants moving in, the risk exists that mobile data could come to standstill from the sheer amount of activity.

by MacNN Staff



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