WAITING FOR THE SWEAT BOX to arrive may become slightly more tolerable thanks to British Telecom (BT) unveiling WiFi connectivity in tube stations.
A six month trial got underway today with BT announcing that commuters at Charing Cross station will be the first to go on the Internet from the discomfort of the platform. It's all part of Mayor of London Boris Johnson's plan to get WiFi coverage throughout London in time for the Olympics in 2012.
As BT is running this, only its broadband customers and those with BT Openzone minutes will have access.
Kulveer Ranger, the Mayor of London's transport advisor said, "This is an important step towards seeing how this could be achieved and is part of the Mayor's ambition to examine the way in which we can use technology to adapt the city's transport system to meet the need of those using it."
It is indeed true that bringing wireless connectivity to the London Underground will help many get work done, but many others would have thought a reduction in fares would be far more supportive of users' needs.
That said, if BT keeps pricing at reasonable levels and imposes relatively few restrictions on use, then perhaps ironically it could mean commuters will be able to make voice calls over VoIP networks such as Skype without using BT or other mobile operators' networks.
All this is of course assuming that Tube workers are not going to go out on strike. µ