Virgin Media isn't the first company to offer free Wi-Fi to the public, but that hasn't stopped it from "paving the way" and using alternative solutions to deliver reliable, high-speed Wi-Fi to residents in Chesham. Literally.
The company has announced that not only residents, but also businesses and visitors passing through Chesham - including its 36-acre Lowndes Park - will be among the first Brits to test "Smart Pavement". The new project is part of Virgin Media and Chiltern District Council's plan to blanket the high street and centre of Chesham with Wi-Fi.
It's basically the first public Wi-Fi offering to be placed under your feet. The new network delivers speeds of up to 166Mbps, which is supposedly seven times the average broadband speed in the UK. Virgin Media said it's only the first of a series of initiatives coming, and they're all designed to provide better "out-of-home" connectivity.
In August, in another attempt to provide subscribers with internet access outside the home, Virgin Media announced an expansion of its Wi-Fi network that involved installing Wi-Fi hotspots in its street-side cabinets. Those same cabinets are now helping Virgin Media deliver connectivity through the UK’s first Wi-Fi-connected pavement.
Gregor McNeil, a Virgin Media managing director, explained: “Not only is this the first time we’ve built metropolitan WiFi directly from our street cabinets, it is also 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."
Virgin Media's Smart Pavement will keep the community connected and moving forward as well as help the Chesham people save some money on their mobile bill. Virgin Media selected Chesham because it is "demographically representative of the UK population as a whole" and is of a size that allows for quick deployment.
To use Wi-Fi coming from Virgin Media's Smart Pavement in Chesham, simply select “Virgin Media WiFi” within the WiFi settings on your device (or through the Virgin Media WiFi Buddy app on an Android device). This initiative is considered a pilot and currently available to all 21,000 residents and businesses of Chesham.
According to Virgin Media, you'll be able to download an episode of a show with a file size of 634Mb at a download speed of less than 35 seconds.