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West End Live and London Pride benefit from next-gen connectivity

West End Live and London Pride benefit from next-gen connectivity
West End Live and London Pride benefit from next-gen connectivity

With good, or even acceptable, wireless connectivity now a given for large-scale sporting and music events, two of London’s most popular free-to-air public events, Pride in London and West End Live 2024, have improved their communications by signing deals with wireless technology provider Ontix.

West End Live took place over two consecutive weekends in June at the world-famous central hotspot of Trafalgar Square. More than 70,000 musical theatre fans attended West End Live this year to see a line-up of famous and popular West End musicals, with more than 32,000 taking part in the Pride in London parade and thousands more visiting one of the largest and longest-running festivals of its kind in the country. With West End Live sponsors including TikTok, Ontix said it could ensure that visitors had access to free public Wi-Fi to quickly stream, transact, download, upload and communicate without the risk of network congestion.

During the events, Ontix’s network carried over 100GB of data for Pride in London and 130GB for West End Live – which the company calculated was the equivalent of over a month’s worth of daily video streaming. To facilitate the quality of the experience, Ontix installed Wi-Fi units discreetly on existing street furniture, such as lampposts, and leveraged its existing fibre to create “ultra-fast” Wi-Fi access points and improve wireless support for these large-scale, back-to-back events.

The organisers of West End Live received additional support from Ontix in the form of a private fixed wireless access (FWA) network, which “provided an essential connectivity boost to maintain the continued operation of critical infrastructure and key event facilities, such as CCTV and electronic box office systems. This would have helped to create a safe and commercially successful environment for the organisers.”

The connectivity enhancement at this London landmark was also made possible by the responsible local authority Westminster City Council’s long-term concession agreement with Ontix. The Ontix solution will be permanently installed on lampposts across the City of Westminster, covering some of central London’s most famous landmarks.

According to Ontix, the technology shows that public Wi-Fi is an easy-to-implement and groundbreaking solution for the organization and success of regular events with many visitors in busy locations.

“Outdoor Wi-Fi networks are an easy-to-deploy, energy-efficient and cost-effective solution that is quickly becoming essential for event organizers. To keep critical infrastructure and key facilities functioning properly, Wi-Fi networks can take the burden of thousands of people off mobile networks by providing an alternative connection,” said Tom Hayden, the company’s chief engineering officer. “It’s not just about posting selfies – although public Wi-Fi is important for that too – it’s about easily creating a secure, efficient environment for regular large-scale events on an on-demand basis to ensure continuous connectivity.”