Trafalgar Square is at the centre of London’s City of Westminster sees an average of 1.1 million daily visitors. A landmark area for tourists, wireless infrastructure provider Ontix together with GlobalReach Technology, has provided the area with ultra-fast outdoor public Wi-Fi since late 2019.
Running alongside the existing Ontix small cell wireless network, the Wi-Fi service delivers high-speed wireless backhaul for enhanced user connectivity and is also the first outdoor Central London service to include Passpoint, which is provided by GlobalReach.
The technology has made it possible to open the network to mobile operators looking to offload their traffic in a dense, inner-city centre, where delivering cellular coverage and capacity to meet demand can be a challenge.
This is what appealed to AT&T, the U.S. mobile operator that is at the forefront of providing its international subscribers with free Wi-Fi roaming over the network.
A Better User Experience
Using a Passpoint profile remotely installed onto their devices AT&T customers can move automatically between the cellular service to Wi-Fi – and back again. The profile takes care of seamless user onboarding both onto the Wi-Fi roaming service and the Wi-Fi network, with the benefit of having to pay international voice roaming rates.
“This is the first of a number of exciting projects we are now delivering in central London and beyond, and is a flagship demonstration of the quality and performance of our Metrohaul architecture for both Wi-Fi and small cell backhaul. This architecture and the infrastructure-as-a-service approach that Ontix is innovating in these roll-outs is going to be crucially important for next-generation wireless, and we will be expanding our deployments throughout this year – enabling operators to offer exceptional connectivity and service to mobile users across the UK.”
Ontix COO, Barnaby Dickinson
Commercial Roaming Agreements
For Westminster City Council, the high-speed network is both a key public utility for the borough and has the potential to help bridge the digital divide, by delivering connectivity in areas where households may not otherwise be connected to the internet.
“We are extremely proud to have brought this ultra-high-quality, ultra-high-performance network to Trafalgar Square, enabled by the outstanding technical and service delivery from Ontix and GlobalReach. We will be continuing our ambitious programme of innovation for our key stakeholders across the borough, and our vision is to deliver an umbrella next-generation network that will ultimately span the whole of Westminster – offering world-leading levels of connectivity and service to businesses, residents and visitors.”
Westminster Councillor Paul Swaddle OBE, Cabinet Member for Community Services and Digital
The network has been successfully trialled by two major international operators and is now open to other global operators looking to offer their customers Wi-Fi roaming capabilities and free VOIP calls.
- 120GB of data carried by the network over New Year1 2019
- 1TB carried over Christmas and New Year 2019
- Daily Wi-Fi speeds in excess of 100MBs per second.
1. https://www.westminster.gov.uk/ward-profiles 2018 report.
2. 120.37GB for 31st December 2019 & 1 January 2020.
3. Figures from 18 December 2019 – 11 January 2020 inclusive.