O2 has partnered with Westminster City Council, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to create Europe's largest free Wi-Fi zone.
The operator will begin work on installing the network this month. It will initially be introduced to a limited number of areas and then throughout the boroughs in the long term. The Wi-Fi zone will operate at no extra cost to the councils or taxpayer.
O2 COO Derek McManus said: 'This ground-breaking deal – the first of its kind in the UK – will see us deliver high quality connectivity across London in time for London 2012. Our longer-term aim is to expand our footprint of O2 wifi, which is open to everyone, and also intelligently enhance our services at street level, where people need the network the most.
'Our £500m annual network investment programme is focused on integrating new layers of technology into the existing network to enable a seamless and sustained customer experience. We are driven entirely by our customers’ needs and believe that services should be delivered in the best possible way, across multiple networks and supported by different technologies.'
Cllr Philippa Roe, cabinet member for strategic finance at Westminster City Council said: 'This is a landmark achievement for Westminster. Westminster welcomes over a million tourists a day, is home to 250,000 residents, employs over half a million people and sees 4,000 business start-ups each year. Next summer’s Olympic Games mean that London will be putting on the biggest show on earth and as Westminster has a starring role, visitors to London will easily be able to share their pictures and updates of the Olympic events across social networking sites.'