UK INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDER Virgin Media is paving the way for nationwide WiFi by putting it under the feet of residents in Chesham.
Virgin Media has joined forces with Chiltern District Council to trial the UK's first 'Smart Pavement' that will see residents, businesses and visitors to Chesham treated to WiFi speeds up to 166Mbps, seven times the average broadband speed in the UK.
The firm will deploy access points underneath pavements connected directly to its fibre network, and letters have already been sent to customers informing them of plans to turn home routers into hotspots and street cabinets into access points.
Fred Wilson, Chiltern District Council's cabinet member for customer services and Chesham town councillor, said: "I am delighted that we’ve been able to bring a UK first to Chesham with Virgin Media's ultrafast WiFi, helping local people and businesses get online.
"Efficient connectivity is pivotal to running businesses today, and I am proud that we are part of a project which is crossing new boundaries."
Gregor McNeil, managing director of consumer at Virgin Media, said: "Not only is this the first time we’ve built metropolitan WiFi directly from our street cabinets, it is the UK’s first deployment of a WiFi-connected pavement.
"It is literally public WiFi under your feet. We want to build more networks like this across the UK and encourage more forward-thinking councils like Chesham to get in touch."
The Smart Pavement operates in a similar way to Virgin Media's WiFi offering on the London Underground, and citizens will be able to hook up to the network by selecting 'Virgin Media WiFi' in the WiFi settings on their device. Those with an Android phone will have access through the Virgin Media WiFi Buddy app.
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