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O2 completes free wifi roll out in Canary Wharf to instigate retail and leisure revolution – and opens a giant umbrella

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With consumers seeing wifi as a right rather than a privilege, O2 has completed the roll out of its free saturation of the technology across the Canary Wharf, offering free web access to consumers in four shopping malls, 240 cafes, bars and restaurants and the 20 acres of parks.

The presence of free, accessible O2 Wifi has already proven popular with visitors and workers in the area with an average connection time of 6.9 minutes per session, and average daily usage of 16.6mins per user, says O2.

Bringing fast, free and simple to use wifi to the whole of the area, the service will benefit the 100,000 strong business community as well as providing a further draw for the growing number of technology startups, helping continue Canary Wharf’s role as a major driver of London’s digital economy.

O2 Wifi is now accessible to everyone, in all public areas including Canary Wharf’s four shopping malls. The announcement follows O2 bringing free wifi to millions of residents and visitors in central London, when they launched Europe’s largest free wi-fi zone across the boroughs of Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea in time for the Olympics.

“We understand that access to free public wifi is becoming a right rather than a privilege and nowhere is the demand greater than in Canary Wharf,” says Gavin Franks, MD for Commerce at O2. “Every day, hundreds of thousands of digitally savvy people are looking to connect, shop, play and work across the estate. Now O2 Wifi can make that easier for them with our free, fast, reliable wifi for all.”

Eric van der Kleij Specialist Technology advisor to Canary Wharf Group, adds: “Wifi is a vital utility for businesses and the public. We are delighted to partner with O2 to bring free wifi access to the entire Canary Wharf community. Canary Wharf is an original smart city. Our built environment is one of the most technological advanced in the capital, so it was important for us to have a wifi provider that is experienced in delivering high quality services to ensure effortless access for those based in or visiting Canary Wharf.”

To celebrate the roll out, O2 has unfurled the world’s biggest umbrella over Reuters Plaza in the heart of the district and is encouraging shoppers, office workers and passers by to tweet pictures of it using the free wifi. Created by artists from Helix 3D, the interactive design will shelter visitors and local business people from the coming November rain, being placed in situ until November 4th. The giant uber-brolley measures 6 x 8 metres, took three weeks to create and is made up of 500 individual umbrellas. Over the next two weeks over 1.2 million people who pass through Reuters Plaza are expected to be covered under it.

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