The UK’s most powerful telecoms firm is looking to use its massive network to bring low-income, under-privileged communities a faster internet.
VoD is the technology that powers mobile broadband services, and is currently used by some 400,000 homes and businesses across the UK.
As part of the company’s rollout for the rollout of the first VoDs in 2017, it has secured a deal with the City of London for £20m worth of land in Kensington and Chelsea.
The land will be used to build a network of 400,0000 Wi-Fi hotspots in the city centre and nearby areas, allowing people to access the internet from anywhere in the UK with a smartphone.
The first Wi-fi hotspots will be put up in London’s Docklands, while the remaining hotspots are expected to be in Bristol and Cardiff.
The hotspots also enable people to connect to a range of social and educational services.
“In order to get a more vibrant and connected city, we need a more affordable and connected public network,” said Mark Jones, the CEO of VoD.
“We’re really excited to see the benefits that this new technology can bring.”
It is not just the UK where VoD has helped people.
In China, where the country’s internet penetration is still relatively low, VoD hotspots have helped many people connect to free and low-cost internet.
A recent study by the Shanghai Internet Technology Association showed that one third of the population is now connected to the internet using VoD, with half of that population using VoDs as a mobile internet provider.
As part of this ambitious initiative, the VoD firm is also working with the Chinese government to roll out VoD to schools and universities in the country.
“We’re hoping that by bringing VoD into schools and colleges, they can use the technology to deliver the education that they’re seeking,” said Jones.
“With the Chinese Government’s stated goal of having 100 million internet users by 2020, this is an incredibly important project that we’re looking forward to working with them on.”
Vodafon has also recently signed a £15m deal with a local authority in East London, where it has installed Wi-Fares on public transport and other public transport.
“It’s a big step for the UK to have this kind of infrastructure in the boroughs and cities, so we’re really pleased that they’ve taken the initiative and invested in the project,” said Graham Wood, the chairman of the board at VoD and an expert in the technology.
VoD is not the only high-tech telecoms company using the technology, with Microsoft also investing heavily in VoD with the support of local authorities.
This is the first time VoD will be rolled out in the West Midlands, with the company looking to expand to other parts of the country in the coming years.
At the moment, VoDs are only available in the US, but a deal is likely to be made in the next few months with the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for VoD services to be rolled on the same level of access to other high-speed networks in the United States as in the rest of the world.
VOD is also the first to deploy the technology in the USA and the first company to deliver VoD for local use.
“This is something that’s been in the works for quite some time, and it’s a significant step forward in the evolution of the technology,” said Paul Johnson, the general manager of VoDs at Vodafont.
“The UK’s government is making a big investment in this technology and we’re excited to be part of that, and we look forward to the day that we can take it to the rest to be used in the whole of the UK.”