Hallelujah: The City of London has found a way to banish 4G "black spots" - with a new, free wifi network

Emma Haslett
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Welcome to GPRS city... (Source: Getty)

Anyone who has tried to use Google Maps while walking around the Square Mile will know the drill: as soon as you walk past a tall building, your 4G disappears and you're left with one bar of GPRS and no idea which direction to head in.

But now the City of London Corporation says it has found a solution, with a new free, public - speedy! - wifi network, after it signed a multi-million pound deal to create so-called "small cells".

In one of the largest ever investments in wireless infrastructure in the capital, the City has signed a 15-year contract with Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure (CTIL) and O2 to deliver wireless services across mobile networks for the City. (NB. we use 20 terabytes of a data a day in the capital's Tube stations - so it has big shoes to fill)

Here's the science bit: the network will be made up of 4G "small cells", placed on street furniture so users don't lose signal while they're wandering between tall buildings. The state-of-the-art equipment will mean users can stream video or download large files for free.

The deal also means the CTIL can start preparing infrastructure in the City for the arrival of 5G, which is expected to become available sometime in 2020.

The City of London boasted that the network will be "more technically advanced than those found in other leading global financial centres, including New York". So there.

“Free, reliable, high-speed wireless internet is a must for any modern, competitive financial centre. That is why I am thrilled to have CTIL deliver this essential project for the Square Mile," enthused Mark Boleat, chairman of the City of London Corporation's policy and resources committee.

“Soon, residents, visitors and workers in the City will be able to enjoy uninterrupted wireless connectivity, and this project should ensure that wireless ‘black spots’ in the Square Mile become a thing of the past." We can but imagine...

Read more: These are the 10 Tube stations where you'll find the fastest wifi

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