UK’s first ‘smart pavement’ brings free superfast WiFi to Chesham’s high street

Chiltern District Council has joined forces with Virgin Media to install a ‘smart pavement’ in the centre of Chesham.

In a UK first, the pavement in the Buckinghamshire town now has ultrafast WiFi built into it, providing free unlimited WiFi to residents, businesses and visitors. The network delivers speeds of up to 166Mbps, seven times the average UK broadband speed.

Welcoming the new WiFi network, local MP Cheryl Gillan said: “The Internet is at the heart of modern life and it is brilliant to have such a cutting-edge network in Chesham and to be right at the vanguard of connectivity in the UK. It will keep the community connected, help Chesham people save some money on their mobile bill and could be a key piece of the jigsaw in connected cities moving forward.”

The smart pavement consists of submerged access points located beneath a specially developed resin cover and directly connected to Virgin Media’s fibre network. The rainproof access points use a combination of the latest tech, including fibre optic cabling and DOCSIS 3 technology.

According to the communications company, local people can download TV shows such as Coronation Street, Strictly Come Dancing or Gogglebox at the bus stop with download speeds of less than 35 seconds.

Virgin Media hopes this will be the first of many similar high street networks that expand connectivity in Britain’s towns and cities. Gregor McNeil, managing director of the firm’s consumer group, said: “Not only is this the first time we’ve built metropolitan WiFi directly from our street cabinets, it is also the UK’s first deployment of a WiFi connected pavement.

“It is literally public WiFi under your feet. We want to build more networks like this across the UK and encourage more forward-thinking councils just like Chesham to get in touch.”

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