Virgin Media might not be content to sit back and let BT have the run of the UK as far as wi-fi hotspots go.
According to an article in the Telegraph, Virgin is “actively exploring” plans to mirror in the UK what Cablevision has done in the States, rolling out thousands of wi-fi hotspots in New York.
The idea would be to set up broadband routers in secure public locations, hook them up to Virgin’s street cabinets, and offer wi-fi to the tune of 5Mbps. A payment model hasn’t yet been decided, but it’s thought that the company might make the service free to Virgin customers, and other users could subscribe, or pay as they go.
Whereas previous public wi-fi schemes have floundered, Virgin says it would only aim to provide coverage in population centres where there was a large demand.
Kevin Baughan, Director of Advanced Technology at Virgin told the Telegraph: “Previous attempts were to fulfil a social objective. This is to solve a real problem. Steve Jobs has created phenomenal demand, and we’ve got the best fibre network in the country that could help meet it.”
“This isn’t about building broad coverage, it’s about giving you fast, predictable, access where you need it.”
Virgin has certainly got a few irons in the fire, as it’s about to begin the roll out of 100Mbps super-fast broadband connections at the start of next month, as advertised by Speedy Gonzales.