It’s an amazing way to democratize access to information and it means less headaches for tourists who don’t opt in to expensive data plans: the City of Tel Aviv-Jaffa has announced free WiFi hotspots throughout the city. On top of that and its rental bike program Tel-O-Fun, Tel Aviv is becoming a pretty cool city.
The city officials say that they want to position “Tel Aviv as the Startup City – a hub of innovation and creativity.”
Free Wifi already abounds to those who arrive at Israel’s international airport. You can actually look agitated and mean it if you don’t get free WiFi at your local cafe in Tel Aviv; but now beyond all the freeness, extra free WiFi will be available in about 80 different locations throughout the city. Map is here. (You need an updated version of Silverlight for it to load, though).
Get free WiFI on the beaches (is this the payment for all the hideous plastic beach chairs?), entertainment centers and tourist attractions. About 20 of the locations now in place were chosen by the residents of the city in a Facebook campaign.
It’s the only city in the world that we know of to have offered this service. There are other digital services in the works, the city announced.
There is a new digital card for personalized discounts for residents, a pay your taxes by smart phone app (will residents then pay on time?), and a GIS maps system to give visitors basic information such as where restrooms and synagogues are located. Again, will we actually be able to open it on all devices?
The city’s mayor Ron Huldai self-congratulates: “The city of Tel Aviv-Yafo is a leader in innovation and in trailblazer thinking. As a municipality we facilitate this and encourage an innovative approach in various fields. The city WiFi we are launching today will enable the city’s visitors and residents to enjoy free surfing throughout the city.”
Score for the free internet City of Tel Aviv; you lose big points though for not providing a simpler map system to let readers access and enjoy it.
Photo via Emilio Labrador