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People living and working in Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea are to enjoy free Wi-Fi access on their mobile phones, laptops and tablet devices.

A landmark deal between Westminster City Council, the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea and service provider O2 will see free wireless broadband provided across this part of the capital.

O2 says the deal will result in the largest free wireless hub in Europe, with Wi-Fi services available to millions of residents and visitors.

Cllr Philippa Roe, Cabinet Member for Strategic Finance at Westminster City Council said Westminster welcomes over a million tourists a day, is home to 250,000 residents, employs over half a million people and sees 4,000 business starts-ups created each year.

"Next summer's Olympic Games mean that London will be putting on the biggest show on earth," she stated.

"Westminster has a starring role, visitors to London will easily be able to share their pictures and updates of the Olympic events across social networking sites."

Derek McManus, Chief Operating Officer for O2, described the deal as "groundbreaking" - the first of its kind in the UK.

It will enable O2 to deliver high quality connectivity across London in time for London 2012, he stated.

"Our longer-term aim is to expand our footprint of O2 Wi-Fi, which is open to everyone, and also intelligently enhance our services at street level, where people need the network the most," Mr McManus stated.

"Our £500 million annual network investment programme is focused on integrating new layers of technology into the existing network to enable a seamless and sustained customer experience."

He said O2 is driven entirely by customers' needs and believes services should be delivered in the best possible way, across multiple networks and supported by different technologies.

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