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Free WiFi in London Tube stations extended until end of 2012

Great the way it cuts off when you go in the tunnel

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More than 660,000 commuters are now accessing Virgin Media's wireless network from ticket halls to platform level on the London Underground, the telco claimed today.

It said it was extending free access to the service, which doesn't reach into tunnels and requires users to register with an email address, until the end of 2012.

The company had originally planned to begin charging non-Virgin Media customers for its service with the exception of a limited offering "including TfL’s journey planner and entertainment and news content useful for a commute to work or trip into town", which was expected to continue to be free.

Now the entire service remains gratis until the start of 2013, the company has announced.

Virgin Media also appears to be moving more slowly than planned in terms of its deployment of its Wi-Fi network underground. In June this year the ISP said it would hook up 82 stations on the tube network by the end of July with its service.

However, it confirmed today that it had fallen short on its rollout. Virgin Media said that 72 London Underground stations had so far been "brought online". This time it was also shy about how many more would get the service before the end of 2012.

It had previously said that a further 38 stations had been earmarked to begin offering internet access by the end of the year.

Here's a canned statement from Virgin Media boss Jon James about keeping the service free for a little longer:

Wi-Fi on London Underground has been an incredible success with hundreds of thousands of people kept up-to-date and entertained whilst travelling around our capital city. Commuters and visitors will be able to make use of the internet throughout 2012 and we’re in positive talks with potential wholesale partners to ensure a fantastic experience for all Tube passengers throughout 2012 and beyond.

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