Och aye-Fi on the underground as The Cloud adds Wi-Fi to Glasgow Subway

The 'series of tubes' is coming to the tube in Glasgow. The Cloud is bringing Web access to the Glasgow Subway for Wi-Fying Scotsmen to check their email underground.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
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Mind the WAP! Glasgow Subway is to be the first underground transport system to let you browse the Web as The Cloud and Arqiva install Wi-Fi.

The new wireless Web connection will be free to all users for the first 15 minutes, then charged on a pay as you go basis.

O2 offers access to The Cloud's public hotspots as part of some of its phone packages, including selected iPhone deals. O2 has been responsible for Glaswegian passengers announcing "Hello? I'm on the Subway! The Subway! Aye!" since late 2008, when 3G signal was installed on the network known as the Clockwork Orange.

Like most commuters, we're ambivalent about voice calling on the train -- as if we don't have enough to put up with without one-sided conversations shouted in our ears. But Internet access on the underground is a great idea, and as London-dwellers and Web addicts, we can't wait to be down in the Tube station on Wi-Fi.

London mayor Boris Johnson is reportedly pushing the phone networks to finally bring the Internet's series of tubes to the Tube in time for the 2012 Olympics, an idea that's been stuck in the tunnels for several years now.

Sadly, the Wi-Fi only works on Glasgow's platforms and not in the tunnels, but it does allow you to look up where you're going or check your email as you wait for the next train. The Wi-Fying Scotsman can also make a quick free call via VoIP services like Skype, Fring or Apple's FaceTime. Here's hoping there aren't any signal failures.

Check out our favourite Tube networks plotted on the Google Maps transit layer. Can you spot a colourful octopus, a shoe and a Magic Carpet Zone?

Photo: Spacecat