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The City of London yesterday went live with Europe’s most advanced Wi-Fi network, with the square mile becoming one big hot spot.

The system run by wireless internet provider The Cloud, has been designed to provide over 350,000 workers access to the internet away from their offices. Anyone with Wi-Fi enabled appliances such as laptops, PDAs, media players and smart phones will be able to gain access through the network.

Also through association with Nokia the first month of Wi-Fi access will be free.  After that users will have to pay £11.99 per month for ‘all you can eat access’ with speeds up to 8Mb/s or users can pay £4.50 per hour.

The service will be delivered through a “mobile broadband mesh” formed of 127 “nodes”, devices that look like small black beer barrels attached to strategically placed lampposts across the city of London.  The idea being that brokers can check stats in the back of a cab, or lawyers can make international phone calls using VoIP sitting in a local coffee shop.

This system, which its creator claims is Europe's densest, most comprehensive city-wide Wi-Fi network, was the product of 12 months' development and testing and aims to expanded to offer 95 percent coverage across areas owned by the City of London Corporation.

“The Square Mile is a fast-moving, dynamic environment and we are responding to the increasing time pressures faced by City workers by providing the technology for them to stay up to date, wherever they are in the City,” said Michael Snyder, chairman of the City of London's policy committee.

The Cloud is currently in talks to spread to other boroughs in London although nothing has been confirmed as yet.

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