Londoners are set for a free WiFi bonanza from the Digital Switchover when Mayor Boris Johnson moves the Crystal Palace TV mast to the City.
Dubbed ‘Johnson’s Needle’, the 219-metre TV mast will be dismantled at its south London home when it finishes TV transmissions in April and rebuilt near St Paul’s Cathedral.
Towering more than 50 storeys over central London, the 50-year-old mast will deliver free high speed broadband to the capital’s residents, workers and visitors within most of the M25.
The Mayor’s office believes that the plan will be able to avoid a planning enquiry because the former Crystal Palace mast is more than 80 per cent air.
Mayor Johnson told Recombu Digital: “London, which is the world’s greatest capital city, will now have a towering landmark to rival the Eiffel Tower.
“Unlike that rusting Froggy spike, Johnson’s Needle will be a lasting and useful legacy for the wonderful people of London, who will be able to twirp, frot and surf to their heart’s content.
“Far from being a monstrosity, it is the perfect modern counterpart to Sir Christopher Wren’s magnificent cathedral, celebrating fine British engineers from Isambard Kingdom Brunel to James Dyson.
“I want the people of London, big and little, to have no doubt how much I have enjoyed being their Mayor, when I return to appearing on Have I Got News For You after the election.”
Lori Floap, the Mayor’s technology spokesperson, said the new WiNOT technology will be able to deliver up to 100Mbps downloads to Londoners as far afield as Hounslow, Enfield and Romford.
The mast, which delivered the first colour TV broadcasts in the UK, will be redundant once London switches to digital TV on April 18 because all TVs will now be owned by Rupert Murdoch’s Sky.
Ironically, because of the shadow of Crystal Palace, it won’t reach areas such as Croydon and Sutton where many of Boris’s most loyal voters live.
Johnson’s Needle will be funded by a new tax on small cars, which the Mayor described as ‘unambitious’, and a five per cent rise in bus, tube and rail fares.
Nevertheless, it’s likely to be seen as a vote-winner in a city where many value their smartphones and iPads more than quality health and education services.
Mr Johnson has long coveted a towering erection to remind Londoners of his tenure as Mayor of London.