back to article Free WiFi in London Tube stations extended until end of 2012

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 …

COMMENTS

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh, that explains it.

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

    I knew that Transport for London had closed the public lavatories at most underground stations, but I didn't realize that you were now supposed to go in the tunnel.

    So ... what exactly is it that gets cut off ... how does that affect WiFi?

  2. Buzzword

    Billing

    In other words, they haven't managed to set up their billing systems yet.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Billing

      This

  3. Len Silver badge
    Unhappy

    It appears largely shut down at the moment though

    I was a very enthusiastic user of it when it was working as I commute about an hour and a half per day in total deep underground. Probably about 8-10 ten stations on my route had it, meaning I could continue to send and receive emails and iMessages throughout my journey. Very useful to catch up on personal email after a day at work.

    The last two weeks or so it appear to be shut down on most stations. My work Blackberry hasn't picked it up at all and my iPhone only once.

    Anyone know if Virgin is restructuring it at the moment?

  4. Peter 26

    The free wifi is great, it has really improved my phone skills.

    When you stop at a station you need to quickly scan for the free wifi, get it to connect, then open up a browser, try to go to google, view the virgin media advert, then quickly get your email to refresh, all before you go into the tunnel again.

    I've actually managed to download a few emails this way, what a pleasure.

    1. Len Silver badge

      I think it depends on your phone. My work Blackberry is a nightmare, I would need to do the routine you describe at every single station the train stops in some sort of bizarre race against the clock.

      My iPhone on the other hand appears to do it just fine and only needs that routine once every few days. Perhaps iOS (and Android?) are a bit more advanced in keeping connections alive and/or login in the background.

    2. boltar Silver badge
      Facepalm

      @Peter 26

      "I've actually managed to download a few emails this way, what a pleasure."

      You could always just read a paper instead. Unless you're such a high powered go getting A type personality that the world would literally stop turning if you couldn't send an email for 30 mins.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @Peter 26

        Said email to read "I'm on the tube!". Plus ça change...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You could always just....yada yada

        kill a woolley mammoth, skin it and bosh the woman to cook it back at your cave.

        You could travel by horse instead of by ostentatiously moderne electric tube train.

        Read a mass produced newspaper? Surely a book inscribed on vellum by monks?

        You read the reg. Don't you send email?

        1. boltar Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: You could always just....yada yada

          "You could travel by horse instead of by ostentatiously moderne electric tube train."

          I could. Except getting to work on time is something I have to do, not want to do. I don't have to send email or have anything to do with computers on a train, therefor I won't.

          "You read the reg. Don't you send email?"

          Generally not for fun and hardly ever in my free time. If I didn't have to sit at a desk all day I wouldn't bother reading El Reg or surf the web much - its merely a distraction to pass the time until 5.30 until I can get back to doing something interesting instead.

  5. Essuu
    Thumb Down

    Not something I'd pay for

    It's quite convenient to be able to access my email whilst at stations (my IMAP email on my iPhone seems to work even without viewing the Virgin ad screen) but it's not so useful or necessary that I would actually pay for it.

    Now if you could make it work when the train has unexpectedly stopped in the tunnel for 20 mins and I'm going to be late for my meeting, well that might be worth something.

    1. boltar Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Not something I'd pay for

      "It's quite convenient to be able to access my email whilst at stations "

      I don't even want to particularly access my email in the office - its usually 2 dozen cc's about something that I don't need to know about and maybe 1 email of vague relevance to my job. Which usually can wait until I've had a coffee.

  6. Robert E A Harvey

    Coverage

    Here in Lincolnshire we would be delighted by public wifi.

    Or trains.

    1. ukgnome

      Re: Coverage

      Electricity first, if nothing else to scare the hedge mumpers.

    2. Steve Foster
      Joke

      Re: Coverage

      Actually, you do have almost as good wifi coverage from Virgin Media as on the tube network...

  7. Kay Burley ate my hamster

    Pointless

    Does anyone spend more than 5 mins on a tube platform? This is only useful if there are delays, I wont subscribe.

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: Pointless

      I felt that initially, but even though it's largely only platform based, I've found it to be quite useful.

      emails and messages come through and are sent at stations, allowing time to read and reply before the next station.

      When standing at a station, it's often useful to look up the conflicting excuses or omissions on the delays.

      often the time at a station is also enough to quickly load up a web page or document if I feel the need to read something else.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: platform based

        shirley, if it's the internet, it should be platform independent?

        ha ha ha ha it's been a long day!

  8. tony

    I've used the service and other than the seemingly random need to force a browser refresh to see the advert it works well, but I'm wondering where people are joining the tube from a comms blackspot that wifi is needed to download emails?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is so annoying to me as a VM customer who has connection problems due to lack of VM bandwidth South of the river. Would have hoped VM would have provided their customers the service they pay for instead of making them suffer while they give it away for free a few miles away.

  10. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    extending free access to the service ... until the end of 2012.

    Hmm. Virgin Group trying to avoid any negative press with the travelling public until they get the West Coast mainline franchise nailed back down?

    1. Mark 110

      Re: extending free access to the service ... until the end of 2012.

      Virgin Media and Virgin Trains are completely unrelated other than they pay Branson's brand for the privilege of calling themselves "Virgin". They are not part of a group.

  11. PeterM42
    FAIL

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

    VM never claimed it would work IN the tunnels.

    Mind you, it wouldn't work very well in the stations either if they used R36 of their crappy SuperHub which is so bad it has been renamed the "SuperDUD".

    The complaint forum thread is fast approaching 40 PAGES:-

    http://community.virginmedia.com/t5/Wireless-Networking/Connecting-wireless-devices-needs-a-reboot-on-R36/m-p/1510304

  12. Nifty Silver badge
    Meh

    The mooted WiFi-isation of the tube lines was cancelled due to the tunnels being too narrow or low or something.

    Yes surely some sort of 'leaky cable' or even 'leaky fibre' tech is not beyond modern science?

    Cables could be rolled out just like undersea cable, at 5 mph. Transponders under each carriage would do the... transponding.

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