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London is world's biggest Wi-Fi hotspot city

Wireless use soars in England's capital

London is the world capital for Wi-Fi hotspot use, according to new research from mobile services firm iPass.

iPass said London is the city with the highest level of hotspot use by businesspeople, with four times as many Wi-Fi sessions than New York and Chicago, the number two and three cities, respectively.

Not surprisingly, the US is leading in terms of hotspot use, making up 56 percent of the worldwide total, followed by the UK (13 percent), Germany (7 percent), Switzerland (4 percent) and the Netherlands (3.5 percent).

The countries that saw the largest growth markets include Australia, which saw an increase of more than 780 percent since June 2006, and Germany, where hotspot use increased by 379 percent during the period.

Businesspeople are driving the use of Wi-Fi hotspots across the world to new highs, particularly at airports and hotels, according to the Wi-Fi Hotspot Index, compiled by iPass, a provider of enterprise mobility services.

The findings are based on data collected during the first half of 2007 from more than a million Wi-Fi users at the company's 3,500 customers. iPass collected data at some 80,000 hotspots in 78 countries, tracking time spent connected; location of connection; and the top venues in which Wi-Fi connections are made.

Overall, Wi-Fi hotspot usage by business users between January and June of 2007 rose 68 percent over the last six months of 2006, and hotspot use during the first half of 2007 rocketed 141 percent compared with the first half 2006, according to iPass.

With new Wi-Fi-enabled devices hitting the market each month, including dual-mode cellular/Wi-Fi BlackBerry and Nokia phones, mobile workers will continue to expand their use of the wireless technology.

"The results indicate that business demand for Wi-Fi hotspots has grown from a novelty to a mainstream need," said Joel Wachtler, iPass VP of marketing and strategy, in a press release. "We are also seeing that use of hotspots is a global phenomenon, with the standard for growth being set in European and Asian countries."

Average daily Wi-Fi usage also jumped 25 percent to 89 minutes in the first half of 2007, compared to 70 minutes in the second half of 2006.

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