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London Underground passengers are set to gain access to free wireless broadband services for the duration of the 2012 Olympics.

Virgin Media is to provide free Wi-Fi at 80 stations on the Tube network in time for the Games in July and August, with another 40 set to come online by the end of 2012.

Millions of commuters - including City workers, local residents and sports fans - will be able to use Wi-Fi to access the internet on mobile devices, allowing them to check travel information and keep up to date with the latest headlines.

The network - to be constructed by Virgin Media in conjunction with Transport for London - will be installed at no cost to the taxpayer.

Following the Olympics, Virgin Media broadband and mobile subscribers will be able to take advantage of the subterranean internet network.

Full internet access via Wi-Fi will also become available on pay-as-you-go and other commercial models, allowing consumers to surf the web on the Tube.

But non-Virgin Media subscribers - such as those registered with another mobile broadband provider - will be able to check free live travel information using the service.

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, said it is vital that the capital harnesses the "massive opportunities" stemming from the digital revolution, by creating a "vibrant, world class industry" to attract investment and create jobs for Londoners.

"Millions of passengers will now be able to connect to their work, friends or access the latest news and travel information whilst on the move," he noted.

"This is a fabulous new and free resource which will be in place from this summer when London is being showcased on a global stage and playing host to millions."

Neil Berkett, Chief Executive at Virgin Media, said that with the eyes of the world on London this summer, the firm will be "showing off the capital as a leading connected city on the global stage".

"We're putting the power of Virgin Media’s fibre-optic network in the hands of millions of Londoners, commuters and visitors and are delighted to be launching Wi-Fi for free throughout summer 2012 and beyond," he added.

"We'll help people make the most of the city and will continue to evolve the service, ensuring everyone can benefit from a service London will be proud of."

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