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Telecoms firm Nokia has teamed up with Wi-Fi provider Spectrum Interactive to run a free wireless broadband pilot on the streets of London.

Internet access will initially be available at 26 street hotspots from today (Tuesday November 1st) until the end of 2011.

The pilot will test how consumers interact with the free Wi-Fi service – with plans for a large-scale rollout across London in place for early 2012 should the scheme be successful.

Nokia and Spectrum Interactive are working on the UK's first ever free public Wi-Fi network, specifically aimed at making it easier for people on the move to access online services.

The two-month trial is intended to assess both the demand for free Wi-Fi access and the browsing behaviour of consumers using the service across the capital.

"On-the-go internet access has become an indispensable part of modern life," commented John Nichols, Head of Marketing at Nokia.

"From tourists finding their way around the capital, to commuters updating Facebook or browsing on the move, we all depend on mobile to share our everyday experiences and enhance our lives."

Ernest Doku, tech expert at uSwitch.com, said it has long been the wish of many to bring free, easy-to-access wireless connectivity to the capital.

He claimed it is "a shrewd move" to get Nokia back on everyone's lips for more than a range of new mobiles.

"With our own StreetStats 3G data showing that mobile coverage in the centre of London is still very prone to 'notspots' when it comes to data services, the offer of a fast, always-on connection for browsing, email and even downloading content at speeds of 1Mb sounds almost too good to be true," Mr Doku stated.

"Whilst only a two-month trial and covering a narrow band of the city, the wealth of data that both Nokia and Spectrum can gather may well put them in a strong position to make the Mayor's dream of London-wide Wi-Fi in time for the Olympics a reality."

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