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Want free Wi-Fi? Move to London

UK companies free-hotspot.com and MeshHopper have partnered to launch free Wi-Fi access for 22 miles along London's Thames river.

UK companies free-hotspot.com and MeshHopper have partnered to launch free Wi-Fi access for 22 miles along London's Thames river.

The service is one of a number of free networks in the UK, which are supported either by advertising or by local government - such as Norwich county council - that see such services as a way to attract inward investment.

The establishment of free Wi-Fi networks is a move unlikely to be repeated in the UAE or Gulf region where providers are more likely to be monopolies, and protective of the high margins they charge for online services.

The London service will provide free Wi-Fi Internet access in hotels, restaurants, cafes and offices along the riverside, and also to people in boats on the Thames.

"This really marks the arrival of free Wi-Fi in greater London," said Dan Toomey, Chief Executive Officer of free-hotspot.com. "Millions of Londoners as well as commuters, visitors and tourists can now expect to find free Wi-Fi as they work or play along the Thames," he added.

The free Wi-Fi service will be supported by sponsors, and users will be asked to watch a 15-30 second advert in order to obtain 15 minutes of free wireless Internet service.

The free service operates with download speeds of 256Kbps. The paid-for services operate at a faster 500Kbps.