Wifi group launches city roaming project

24 August 2016 | Alan Burkitt-Gray


The Wireless Broadband Alliance has launched its city Wifi roaming project, offering free and secure wireless access in a number of major cities.

The initiative is supposed to celebrate World Wifi Day, though according to worldwifiday.com the next such day is 17 July 2017.

Four cities are named as taking part in the project by offering free Wifi until the end of September 2016: New York, San Francisco, San Jose and Singapore. They will offer visitors the ability to roam between public Wifi networks, said the alliance.

“With four billion people still unconnected, the greatest threat to the global economy is the vast gap between the connected world and the non-connected world,” said Shrikant Shenwai, CEO of the Wireless Broadband Alliance.

“The Wireless Broadband Alliance has a vision to ensure everyone can connect to the internet easily and cheaply and is encouraging cities, governments, operators and tech giants like Facebook, Google and Microsoft to collaborate in ensuring affordable, sustainable connectivity for all.”

Over 1,000 hotspots are involved in the current project, with 228 in downtown San Francisco, 500 across San Jose, 200 LinkNYC Kiosks in New York and 290 on selected metro stations and elsewhere in Singapore.

The City Wifi Roaming project sees dedicated participation from 20 operators, with a number of organisations supporting the broader World Wifi Day initiative.

The free seamless roaming service is based on next generation hotspot standards, with roaming hubs are provided by Accuris Networks, BSG Wireless and Syniverse.

The Connected City Advisory Board (CCAB) has representatives from New York City, Barcelona, Dublin, San Francisco, Singapore, San Jose, Mexico City as well as the governments of Delhi and Philippines among those involved.

“Connectivity continues to transform and improve the way we live in the world,” said Miguel Gamino, chief information officer for San Francisco. “The roaming partnership is San Francisco’s contribution to our communal goal of making it easier for people to connect to Wifi wherever they are around the globe. Our hope is that more cities will join.”

Khoong Hock Yun, assistant chief executive of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, commented: “As Singapore moves towards a smart nation, we are looking into ways in which we can solve big challenges and create new opportunities though technology. Secure and pervasive connectivity will be important in this journey.”