Free Wi-Fi service will be available at 2,520 government agency locations, tourist attractions and public transportation spots starting on Oct. 7, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday, touting the government’s efforts to expand free wireless services at public locations throughout the nation.
Describing free wireless services as a “digital right,” Ma said the public and foreign visitors could use the service to surf the Internet and send or receive e-mails at public locations.
“People feel welcome when they visit government agencies and get a cup of tea from civil servants. Now the government is offering free wireless services that I think will make people feel more welcome,” he said at the Presidential Office.
“Hopefully it will facilitate government services and help people obtain information in a faster, better way,” he said.
The service will be available inside central government agencies, major train stations, airports and public hospitals. Ma said the government would ensure the quality of free wireless services and expand the network so the entire public could enjoy the right to wireless services.
Research, Development and Evaluation Commission Deputy Minister Sung Yu-hsieh (宋餘俠) said the program would cost about NT$90 million (US$2.9 million).
The Taipei City Government launched a “TPE-Free” wireless service in July at public locations, including MRT stations, municpal libraries, administrative centers and branches of Taipei City Hospital.
Taipei City Department of Information Technology Commissioner Chang Chia-sheng (張家生) said the services would be extended to outdoor areas, including major roads and major residential and commercial areas, such as Zhongxiao E Road, Renai Road, Dunhua S Road and the Xinyi Commercial District.
Free wireless services offered by the central government and the Taipei City Government are available at connection speeds of 512kbps, which is fast enough for basic online functions.