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London Underground gets connected

  • Posted by Michael Carroll
  • June 8, 2012 10:34 AM BST

The peace of one of our last bastions from the world of always on communication is shattered. Virgin Mobile has completed deployment of its first Wi-Fi routers in London Underground stations, as part of plans to equip 120 stations by the year-end.

 Virgin's network is offering commuters real-time travel info, dedicated music and movie information, and even recommendations on sites to visit above ground.

 It also means yet another place where we'll be tripping over people staring at their mobile phone rather than getting on with the business of actually getting somewhere, as most commuters are doing.

 While I'm relieved Transport for London hasn't gone the whole hog by installing cellular coverage through all its tunnels - the "I'm on the train" speech can only be louder in the confines of a subway train -, I'm kinda wondering why it didn't? I concede I've sometimes had to wait up to seven minutes for a Tube, but delays beyond that are rare unless the network is in total meltdown. So, the question is, how much time will commuters actually have to 'surf' Virgin's new network?

 With even some flights offering wireless voice services now, it seems most of our 'quiet' spaces are gradually being eroded. Luckily, my motorbike provides the ideal refuge from the connected world - I can't hear the phone ring in the first place, let alone reach it in time to answer!