Virgin Media WiFi arrives at West Hampstead station


West Hampstead is one of the latest Tube stations to benefit from Virgin Media WiFi coverage.

Virgin Media has extended its London Underground WiFi service to cover an additional 10 stations, including West Hampstead and Finchley Road, bringing the total number of stations covered to 131.

The service is included in the package cost for Virgin Broadband and Virgin Mobile customers, but users of other networks can buy daily, weekly or monthly passes.

The WiFi service should be available both in the ticket hall and the platform and given how close West Hampstead and Finchley Road stations are, maybe… just maybe you’ll be able to keep the connection.

Has anyone tested this out yet? Please leave a comment using the form below (for extra points, please do so whilst connected to WiFi at West Hampstead station.)

West Hampstead’s free public WiFi switched on

It’s been a while coming – we first reported this back in 2012 and again in 2013 – but West Hampstead now has free WiFi, having miraculously shot to the front of Camden’s queue. We were originally slated to be in “phase 3”, but we join parts of Bloomsbury, Holborn, and Kilburn in being first in line. Clearly the council recognises that we all need to tweet all the time!

WHL didn’t spend too long in the murky drizzle of dusk testing the full reach of the new service, but the connection was very weak by West End Green and much stronger by the first 139 bus stop heading south.

The WiFi infrastructure, powered by Arqiva, is apparently attached to lampposts, though it’s not immediately obvious where and we didn’t see any “Access point” signs, but nor did we hunt high and low for them.

My phone picked up the “_Camden_WiFi” network, which gives 30 minutes free access before you have to shell out £5 for the rest of the day or £30 for the month.


It’s hard to imagine that many people will pay for this in West Hampstead with most cafés offering some sort of free WiFi service already (Camden’s network appeared well down my list of options), but it’s good to have and if does stretch to West End Green then it might encourage people to sit outside and tap away on their tablets.

Of course the rise of 4G networks also means that short burst uses of WiFi for phones is less necessary, but 4G coverage isn’t that reliable yet.

In the enthusiastic press release that accompanied this launch, Cllr Theo Blackwell, cabinet member of finance, and digital champion for the borough (my words, not the press release’s), said:

“The completion of this first stage marks a major step in enhancing the borough’s digital services and making Camden the best connected place in the country.

By rolling-out a free Wi-Fi network, we’ll be able to ensure residents, businesses and visitors have access to the best mobile network experience available while at the same time addressing network congestion and coverage issues.

It will also help boost the borough’s economy by encouraging more visitors to Camden with event and travel information readily available as well ensuring, where possible, local companies are used for the installation and maintenance of the network.”

West Hampstead at the back of the WiFi queue

Back in July 2012 Camden dangled a digital carrot under the noses of those in the more populated areas of the borough: free public WiFi. However, it was unclear exactly which areas would benefit and when the initiative would go ahead.

The service has now been approved and will start rolling out from June 1st, though in West Hampstead we won’t be online until phase 3, which could be 18 months away. The contract will last for 10 years.

Users of registered devices will be able to use 30 free minutes of WiFi everyday – after 30 minutes you’ll have to pay. So it’s more for the quick check of e-mails or browsing than to sit in a coffee shop and work your way through Series 3 of Game of Thrones on Sky Go Extra.

Reaction on Twitter was mixed: