On the grid, under the ground

After a couple of months of resisting the temptation, this week I finally succumbed to seeing if the publicised availability of WiFi (free at the moment thanks to Virgin) on parts of the London Underground system (a) worked and (b) was useful.

A couple of days into it and the answers are “yes” and “yes”.

It’s surprisingly fast and has a use feature that I had not anticipated. I had wrongly assumed that use would be restricted to when you were standing on the platform. So with high frequency of trains you would have a couple of minutes at best to log on and do something useful. However when you are sitting on the train your device bursts into action at every station stop.

So before a 15 minute tube ride on the Central Line, for example, including descent and ascent times on the escalators, would mean a 20 minute period of “radio silence” now that is reduced to the interval between stations. Additionally there appears to be no need to log in following initial registration.

I like it. However I still maintain my view that I would never like to fly on a carrier with WiFi access. Being wired in as I move about London is good. Giving up quality thinking time in splendid 37,000 feet isolation is bad.

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