Progress on city-wide Wi-Fi coverage in London has been significantly improved today. BT has announced that Westminster will be the first area to benefit from its Wi-Fi coverage, as part of the initial phase of 12 across the UK.

Set to roll out by the end of March, the plans for Westminster are the furthest advanced, with arrangements in place for a street-based network.

A BT spokesperson explained that the chief beneficiaries of the wifi system are likely to be mobile council workers who need to report back to their offices regularly. Business will also benefit, with the average consumer on the street accessing the wifi once in a while.

Part of the reason the average Joe may not be so eager to hook up to it is the cost. BT Broadband users will pay £5 a month for 500 minutes of access, while non-BT Broadband customers will pay £10 for 250 minutes. In addition, a 1 hour voucher costs a whopping £6.

Interestingly, one of the side benefits to the council of the Wi-Fi coverage is, according to Councillor Colin Barrow, support for a "more flexible and adaptable CCTV network".

In related news, Leicester Square, at least, is covered from today by free Wi-Fi courtesy of PR firm Four Communications. Subject to fair use, anyone can tap into the 8Mpbs service while wandering through the area.