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City slickers get another 5 years of free Wi-Fi

In 15 minute chunks, in a tiny piece of London ...

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The City of London has extended its deal with The Cloud for blanket Wi-Fi coverage, including the offer of 15 minutes of free access intended to lure surfers into paying £2 for a day pass.

The service has been running since 2007, provided by The Cloud and covering just about all of the Square Mile that makes up the City of London. The service provides a showcase for The Cloud, as well as letting The City boast about its ubiquitous connectivity.

It's much easier to provide blanket coverage if your city is only a mile square, as London's is, and while The Cloud is always quick to remind us that the service is free (little notes arrive every time we cover other free offerings) in reality it is only free for the first quarter of an hour, after which you'll have to stump up £2 for 24 hours of use.

The Cloud also has the advantage that local businesses are unlikely to use the service for their needs – when traders will pay $300m to shave 6ms off transmission times, they're hardly likely to start bodging identities to enable them to camp on a cheap Wi-Fi connection.

London's tips for how other cities can make free Wi-Fi coverage work: be very small, be populated by rich people, and charge anyone who tries to make proper use of it. ®

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