Virgin Media has been powering London’s Tube network since the 2012 Olympics, and recently expanded that service until the end of the year. It then cut a deal to offer WiFi access to Underground travelers on UK’s EE 4G network continuing access.
Now, it has been chosen by the UK government to provide free WiFi service in the city centers of Leeds and Bradford.
The cities will get big WiFi hotspots as a part of an ongoing program to blanket urban areas with WiFi signal. Once Virgin Media has them up and running, it will pay for them in portion by selling off bandwidth to other carriers that want to take the load off of their networks. In this deal, VM bears the cost of setting up the initial network, then gets to benefit on the backend.
The continued rollout of the WiFi hotspots is templated on the US version of the plan, which hasn’t made all that much products outside of tech-savvy hubs like NYC.
Virgin Media’s WiFi service is available in 72 stations across the Tube network and will eventually cover around 120. Over 660,000 people have registered to use the service and its busiest day as of late November was October 12, when it saw more than 1.1M sessions.
Image Credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images