Earlier this year I wrote about a new trial that will see a new, smart road surface on one lane of a motorway that can charge electric vehicles as they move along it.
The initial trial follows a successful feasibility study into the wireless power transfer technology that sits at the heart of the project.
Projects such as these are part of a more widespread drive to make our towns and cities smarter places to live, work, and play. A similar project is being undertaken in the UK town of Chesham.
They have teamed up with Virgin Media to trial a ‘Smart WiFi Pavement’ that will offer citizens WiFi access on the move.
“Chiltern District Council and Virgin Media have joined forces to blanket Chesham’s high street with superfast WiFi. The unlimited WiFi service is available to residents, businesses and visitors passing through the center of Chesham; the service even covers parts of Lowndes Park – Chesham’s 36 acre park space,” the company say.
The pavement aims to provide speeds of up to 166Mbps, which is considerably higher than the average speed available in the UK.
The project will be supported by Virgin’s street cabinets, and it is believed to be the first effort to build WiFi access into pavement construction.
Users access the network by selecting Virgin Media WiFi in their mobile device.
“The pavement, developed by Virgin Media, provides connectivity via submerged access points linked directly to Virgin’s street cabinets, which are connected to the fiber-optic network. The pavement provides download speeds of up to 166Mbit/s, allowing users to download a file of about 634MB, equivalent to one episode of ‘Coronation Street,’ in about 35 seconds,” the company continue.
The access points are currently hidden underneath manhole covers in the pavement, and therefore look just like the many other kinds of street furniture that adorn our pavements.
The town of Chesham was selected due to the innovative nature of the local authority, but the hope is that the initial pilot will prove successful enough to warrant a much wider roll out throughout the UK.
To that end, the company are encouraging other authorities to get in touch should they wish to offer citizens this facility in their own towns.