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Helsinki opens free wireless Internet network


Helsinki opens free wireless Internet network
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The City of Helsinki has been setting up a free wireless Internet network in a number of public spaces in Helsinki since the summer. Currently, 15 base stations maintained by the city already exist in downtown Helsinki. Moreover, the city is to open another 60 to 70 WLAN base stations by the end of the current year.
      Wireless Internet access at no cost is available to anyone with a laptop computer with a WLAN card in downtown Helsinki, both outdoors and in several public spaces including city libraries and cultural centres.
     
The establishing of the municipal base stations in Helsinki started at the end of August.
      "We have not gone about informing the residents extensively as yet, as for the time being only some 20 city libraries have a base station. However, all libraries will be covered by the end of the year", says the City of Helsinki's IT Manager Tuomo Karakorpi.
      The City Library has a WLAN network called Stadinetti in several libraries. In order to use Stadinetti, a customer needs a Helsinki Metropolitan Area (HelMet) library card with a PIN code.
      However, to use wireless network connections in other public places in Helsinki, neither registration nor a PIN code is usually required.
     
Though the number of base stations is growing, the City of Helsinki's policy is to set up base stations only in libraries and other public spaces including the city's own offices and service points when needed, Karakorpi reports.
      Over the course of the current autumn, free WLAN connections will be available also in about 20 buses and trams in Helsinki.
     
While the establishment of the WLAN networks will cost the city around EUR 60,000 to 70,000 in extra equipment costs this year, the annual maintenance costs are estimated to be some EUR 20,000 to 25,000.
      "All the same, one has to bear in mind that the same networks are being used by the city's employees, too", concluded Karakorpi.
     
Initially, the City of Helsinki was criticised for foot-dragging in developing a wireless WLAN network, as Oulu, Lahti, and Turku already had a number of wireless Internet base stations donated by municipal authorities. Moreover, the capital city was compared - and not very favourably - with the Estonian capital Tallinn, which is also famous for its WLAN cafés.
      In fact, the first free wireless Internet access was opened by private enterprises on Helsinki's Esplanade and a small part of Unioninkatu and Eteläranta at the beginning of March. In addition to this OpenEspa network, further base stations have been opened by other private entrepreneurs in the course of the current year.


Previously in HS International Edition:
  Only private enterprises set up new wireless networks in Helsinki (9.6.2006)
  Free wireless Internet access planned for parts of centre of Helsinki (24.2.2006)
  Only private enterprises set up new wireless networks in Helsinki (9.6.2006)
  Free wireless Internet access planned for parts of centre of Helsinki (24.2.2006)

Links:
  City of Helsinki WLAN
  Helsinki WLAN hotspots
  City of Helsinki WLAN
  Helsinki WLAN hotspots

Helsingin Sanomat


  22.9.2006 - TODAY
 Helsinki opens free wireless Internet network

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