It would seem some manner of “free” wifi is bound for the streets of Fulham, Hammersmith and Shepherds Bush. Under a new deal, not yet signed, Arqiva look set to install wireless access points in the lampposts around the borough. Shepherds Bush will see points installed at the end of 2013, with Hammersmith and Fulham following in 2014.
Whilst the council are touting the service as free it is barely that. The first 30 minutes are free but there will be charges after those minutes are up. No word on what those charges will be yet but if Arqiva want to challenge the services already provided by mobile networks, coffee shops & libraries they’ll have to be competitive.
Council services will be free but how often do you really need to access those and would you really want to pay your bills over a public network?
On the subject of the cost of this new wireless network, the claim is that Arqiva will make a one-off payment to the council of £500,000 and that some profits will also find their way to the local purse. This is of course good news for our borough but I am very sceptical on how much of a financial success this project will be. Hopefully the council will publish the income separately on its site.