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First tube station to get Wi-Fi next week

HELLO?! I'M AT CHARING CROSS!

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Charing Cross will become the first London Underground station to offer wireless internet access from next week.

BT Openzone will run a six-month trial in the ticket hall area and on Northern and Bakerloo line platforms. There won't be any access on trains.

The service will be offered on the same basis as other BT Openzone hotspots: free to BT broadband subscribers and Fon members, and available for a fee to others.

Boris Johnson's transport adviser Kulveer Ranger said: "An ever-growing commuter populous [sic] has been clamouring to be able to check their emails and browse the net whilst on the go.

"This trial at Charing Cross will allow them to do just that whilst on the Tube platform. This is an important step towards seeing how this could be achieved and is part of the Mayor's ambition to examine ways in which we can use technology to adapt the city's transport system to meet the needs of those using it."

Earlier this year Johnson said he wants there to be ubiquitous Wi-Fi access across the capital in time for the Olympics in 2012. "I think people do want the facility of looking at their BlackBerry [on the tube], or whatever it happens to be," he said.

The trial will be by no means the first attempt to introduce wireless communications to London's aged Tube network. Ken Livingstone planned to introduce mobile phone signals, but Transport for London last year said it had received no credible industry bids.

Londoners can look forward to their fellow commuters making Skype calls on the overcrowded Charing Cross platforms from 1 November. ®

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