Tram stops to offer free WiFi

Prague plans 300 free hotspots for travelers

Checking your smartphone while waiting for the next tram has become pretty much the thing to do. Prague in cooperation with advertising firm JCDecaux is making it easier by putting free WiFi at 300 tram stops. The signal should extend 50 meters from the stop. This follows after a pilot project launched in 2016. The initiative is called WiPrague.

Among the first stops to have it is Husinecká, near the University of Economics, Prague (VŠE). It was among 27 stops to get the service late last week.

“We chose the stop because we are in close proximity to VŠE, where there is a great influx of young people who use modern technology in everyday life,” Prague 3 Deputy Mayor Alexander Bellu (ODS) said, according to media reports.

There will be some 127 WiFi hotspots in the next three weeks and 300 by the end of the year.

“For a reliable connection we recommend access to WiPrague on 5GHz, but the 2.4GHz frequency is maintained for older devices,” JCDecaux technical director Tomáš Tenzer told MfD.

JCDecaux is one of the partners of the project. The company has a contract with the city to operate tram and bus stops until 2021, and sells advertising space at them. JCDecaux is financing the project.

The project was announced in February 2016, and several stops such as náměstí Míru had been used to test the project before the launch at the end of last week.

Users do not have to enter an e-mail or any personal details to use the WiFi hotspot, and personal data will not be collected.

In the future interactive digital panels will be installed, where passengers can choose the optimal route for their journey. It will even calculate the price of a taxi ride. A bike sharing project is also planned.

Separately, the Prague Public Transit Company (DPP) is continuing to expand the number of trams that have WiFi on board as it modernizes the fleet. By 2022 DPP hopes to have 60 to 70 percent of the fleet covered.

Prague 11, which encompasses the Jižní Město housing project, also has an initiative to provide free public WiFi.

Another project for public WiFi was not successful. Efforts to turn homeless people who hang out at heavily used parts of the city into mobile hotspots did not get funding and faced criticism for dehumanizing the homeless.

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