Cities & municipalities are embracing Wi-Fi like never before. In fact, we believe that free Wi-Fi for citizens, tourists, visitors will become a standard practice for all cities in the coming years. Some – like San Francisco, London, Barcelona, San Jose, and many others – have already deployed high-performance City Wi-Fi networks. What is the business case & what are the drivers?
Right now free City Wi-Fi is either government paid or sponsored – with a handful of exceptions. The exceptions are very interesting in that a few of these may eventually become viable alternatives to cellular services. One such is Wildfire 5G (USA) – a company building city-wide carrier-grade Wi-Fi networks in the South East US. In New York, Google is backing the LinkNYC/CityBridge project which will bring (if all goes well) ad-sponsored, free Wi-Fi to thousands of locations at street level in the Big Apple. Both are exciting and innovative takes on public Wi-Fi opportunities. In South Africa, Project Isizwe (a non-profit) is providing free connectivity to thousands every day.
At Wi-Fi NOW we will be covering the City Wi-Fi story. But we want it to be real – not political. If governments are involved, we want them to know what they will benefit from and what they won’t. We like IoT but these days, anything goes under the header of IoT. The real, promising businesses out there are few and far between in this space. Veniam’s transport Wi-Fi network or ‘The Internet of Moving Things’ is one of the most promising out there today.
Also: Make sure you read my latest blog post here: How City Wi-Fi can be a catalyst for Smart Cities and don’t forget to join us at Wi-Fi NOW Amsterdam!