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Free Wi-Fi For the Residents of Venice, Italy

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the venice-washington-must-continue-to-wait dept.

Networking 153

pmontra writes "The City of Venice, Italy, started to offer free Wi-Fi to residents (Google translation from the Italian source) on July 3 2009. Tourists and other visitors will pay 5 Euros a day for the service starting from September. The hot spots are connected to a ten thousand kilometer (6,250 mile) fiber optic LAN the City started deploying in the '90s. The first day of free Internet access has been celebrated with a digital treasure hunt in the channels of the lagoon city."

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153 comments

Very cool. (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 4 years ago | (#28584713)

I'll have to remember to take my laptop the next time I'm in Venice.

Re:Very cool. (5, Funny)

Mr_Plattz (1589701) | more than 4 years ago | (#28584741)

I'll have to remember to take my laptop the next time I'm in Venice.

I fail to see how that's a change fro mthe norm. As not only a slashdot member, but also someone who posts first. I assume you take your laptop _everywhere_ you go, not just to Italy.

Re:Very cool. (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 4 years ago | (#28584753)

I'm amazed. I've never had a first post. And yes, last time I was in Italy, I did have my laptop. It was a G3 iBook. Those were the days.

Re:Very cool. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28584757)

I fail to see how this affects non-italians.
It is common knowledge that in italy the internet is translated to italian with a device not unlike the great firewall of china.

Why is this important to non-Italians (5, Insightful)

GeneralSunTzu (1163223) | more than 4 years ago | (#28584771)

It is important to non-Italians because: 1. it shows Americans that you can get something for free, much to their utter dismay, given the tenets of their society; 2. proves to non-Italians that local authorities do have a purpose in the general path of the Wheel; 3. provides to nerds and geeks of all over the world a reasonable pretext to visit Venice, one of the magic places on the planet That, for me, is enough.

Re:Why is this important to non-Italians (2, Informative)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#28584791)

Actually, I think there are municipalities that offer free WiFi in an area roughly the size of Venice.

Venice proper is basically a city that has been turned into a theme park. The article isn't entirely clear, but I don't think this extends to the cities surrounding the lagoon (where most of the work that isn't tourism gets done), which would be very significant.

Re:Why is this important to non-Italians (1)

lxs (131946) | more than 4 years ago | (#28585135)

"Venice, one of the magic places on the planet "

Well it was until it was overrun by millions of geeks.

Re:Why is this important to non-Italians (1)

frodo from middle ea (602941) | more than 4 years ago | (#28585371)

As someone who has visited Venice, I can tell you it's very commercial and full of tourist traps.

100 Euros for a 30 min gondola ride, 400 Euros for a Venetian mask and don't even get me started on the Murrano glass.
I felt like I was in a giant Hallmark store, full of useless over hyped and expensive stuff that only women can find "Oh so romantic".

Re:Why is this important to non-Italians (4, Interesting)

Nuffsaid (855987) | more than 4 years ago | (#28585463)

As someone who actually lives in Venice, I can tell you that you are right about the tourist traps, but they are easily avoided if you look around instead of going windows shopping. The made-in-China stuff you can buy is far from romantic, but the sheer structure of the city, with its two entangled mobility networks (one for walkers, one for boats) still amazes me after 10 years living here. Now we have three entangled networks...
Yesterday I had dinner with an old pal whose job in the last months has been installing the access points and congratulated him. He confirmed the amazing level of interest even among the elder population. Today, lots of people I know are checking signal strength in every hidden corner. Looks like the municipality (and my friend) did a great job, as the coverage seems rather complete.
BTW, Venice is not a theme park. People still live and work here, enjoying a lifestyle like no other, mainly due to the absense of cars. I won't tell you "come visit us", but I can confirm you don't need a pretext like free connectivity.

Re:Why is this important to non-Italians (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#28586615)

Hey, is there like separate tourist price and local price there? That is one expensive place.

Re:Why is this important to non-Italians (0, Troll)

Lennie (16154) | more than 4 years ago | (#28585465)

And I heared it stinks

Re:Why is this important to non-Italians (1)

Nuffsaid (855987) | more than 4 years ago | (#28585475)

You feel odors with hearing?
Well, it sometimes do, with low tide and the wrong weather conditions. But it's all natural, organic, all-bio stinking stuff...

Re:Why is this important to non-Italians (4, Insightful)

AmigaMMC (1103025) | more than 4 years ago | (#28586049)

>100 Euros for a 30 min gondola ride

As opposed to $150 for a 10 minutes flight over the Hoover's Dam? You have the option not to do it.

>400 Euros for a Venetian mask and don't even get me started on the Murrano glass.

Hand made stuff, man. Not made in China.

I visited Venice in the off-season, lots of good places to eat for cheap, cheap hotel and few tourists around. Your choice to go when everyone else goes. have you tried Yellowstone in August?

Re:Why is this important to non-Italians (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28586071)

100 E is cheap for a gondola ride. In my home state, gondola rides of roughly 30 minutes are $160. In the US. over 4,000 miles away from the city by the sea. In a crap town nobody's heard of. on fake gondolas (they're secretly electric...)

Free? How wonderful! (0, Troll)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 4 years ago | (#28585857)

1. it shows Americans that you can get something for free, much to their utter dismay, given the tenets of their society;

Free? How wonderful! So the workers installing and maintaining the equipment will all donate their time! And all the equipment will be given to Venice for free also! And in the future, all the equipment needing replacement due to age or damage will also be free! And the Chinese and other Asian manufacturers will send all this equipment to Venice for free! They must really love Italy!

It must be heaven there where Economics 101 doesn't apply, everything is free and no one has to pay for anything.

Re:Why is this important to non-Italians (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 4 years ago | (#28586149)

1. it shows Americans that you can get something for free, much to their utter dismay, given the tenets of their society

That's kind of a misleading statement, given the fact that you can find free wifi in pretty much any American city quite easily. I would go so far as to say that it's far easier to find free wifi in an American city than it is in a European city.

But yeah, free here in the US is usually tied to marketing (free wifi in many restaurants/bars - but you have to eat/drink in the establishment to get it, etc).

Unfortunately, free municipal wifi has been a huge failure here.

Re:Very cool. (1)

AmigaMMC (1103025) | more than 4 years ago | (#28586031)

It's funny :) But to make sure that someone doesn't take you too seriously: internet in Italy is NOT translated in Italian (other than italian websites) ;-) This is actually good news for all, bad news for some hotels, for which I'm glad. I don't know about Venice but last year I was in Rome (and I've had similar experiences in other cities since I spend 2 months in Italy every year) and staying at a Marriott they charged 17 euros a day for internet access. That was on top of the 400 euros a day for the suite (200 euros for the cheapest room). Hopefully this will discourage hotel chains from charging an unreasonable amount for accessing the net. Funny enough, B&B can be very nice, have much cheaper rates and usually offer free wi-fi. Other than that it is important because in the States similar proposal have been struck down once again because "it would not be fair in the interest of providers"... Ah. the good old U.S. of A. ... always put the interest of corporations before those of the citizens (I live in the U.S.)

Re:Very cool. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28586487)

Non sono Italiano mai capisco il Italiano. E facile imparare il Italiano
e E una lingua molto bella. Inoltre, amo molto alle Italiane.

PS: I didn't put the accents because of input problems here

Re:Very cool. (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 4 years ago | (#28585147)

Odd, I never bring my laptop anywhere if I can avoid it.

I hate carrying around that thing - also I find them highly annoying at a meeting, much better with pen and paper.

Re:Very cool. (1)

GreenTech11 (1471589) | more than 4 years ago | (#28584779)

Wish it was active when I went over during Christmas, 5 Euro's a day isn't very expensive really, about the cost of a loaf of a bread in a canal side restaurant!

Re:Very cool. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28584941)

I'm sure we all visit Venice regularly, and were leaving laptops home because there wasn't wifi network available. I know I was. Finally we can bring our laptops!

War Sailing (3, Funny)

Renderer of Evil (604742) | more than 4 years ago | (#28585003)

I'm just glad I don't have to do warsailing anymore. In the past I used to tell my boat rower to keep it steady long enough to break the WPA-PSK while wearing that ridiculous mask.

Use 3G instead (2, Interesting)

quenda (644621) | more than 4 years ago | (#28585097)

At 5 euro/day ?! Screw that.

I'll take my 3G phone, which costs 50c/MB roaming on '3' in italy. Good enough for email, and looking up tourist info.
I expect you can get a prepaid SIM in Italy that will cover the whole country for a lot less that 5 euro/day.
And if you're in Venice, there are better things to do than reading slashdot all day in some wanky tourist cafe on Piazza San Marco. God, I hope it doesn't have a Starbucks now.

Re:Use 3G instead (5, Interesting)

pmontra (738736) | more than 4 years ago | (#28585223)

I'll take my 3G phone, which costs 50c/MB roaming on '3' in italy. Good enough for email, and looking up tourist info.

I agree but there might be some reasons that can make the Wi-Fi service attractive to some people. One is that for your 3G contract to be competitive you have stay under a 10 MB cap. That won't let you upload your vacation pictures or download large attachments for business. Nothing that matters to you, probably, but it could matter to somebody else. Wi-Fi could also be an easier connection to setup: tourists will probably be able to register online from their home before leaving for Italy (Venice residents are registering online for the service now). That's seems a better option than looking for the right telephone shop in a foreign country and trying to communicate with personnel that maybe don't speak their language too well.

God, I hope it doesn't have a Starbucks now.

There are no Starbucks in Italy and probably there will never be. Starbucks' idea of coffee is too different from the average Italian's idea of coffee, an espresso quickly brewed and quickly consumed at the bar. Ironically, the original Starbucks was selling coffee beans and equipment and started selling coffee drinks only after a journey to Italy of its marketing manager in 1982.

Re:Use 3G instead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28585651)

The real reason is that if you are addicted to decent espresso, Starbuck's coffee simply SUCKS.
It is good for "frappuccino", "mochaccino" etc. but that's, as you said, a different "coffee culture".
Check out the beans the show (both Arabica and Robusta varieties) near the counter: small, irregular - good/average ones, not "top quality" ones.

Re:Use 3G instead (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28585661)

There are no Starbucks in Italy and probably there will never be. Starbucks' idea of coffee is too different from the average Italian's idea of coffee, an espresso quickly brewed and quickly consumed at the bar.

The Portuguese idea of coffee is pretty much like the Italian's. "Coffee" here is synonymous with espresso, and nobody would dare serve you anything different. You can find a large espresso machine in virtually every place that serves food or drinks. You can even usually find them in beach bars and small food stands.

People used to say exactly what you said, that Starbucks would never work in here and that it probably would never come to Portugal as it would be a lousy market for the types of drinks that they serve. And still, there are now 3 Starbucks stores in Lisbon. They're probably just feeling the terrain first given the locations they have chosen. One store stands in one of the most touristy areas of Lisbon, so even if the Portuguese don't like it, they can sell their coffee to other Europeans and Americans. The other 2 were set up at large shopping malls. They're basically empty during the week, but during weekends they fill up mostly with teens.

I still believe that the future is not so bright for Starbucks in here. Their prices are high like in the rest of the world, and this is the country where people have good espresso available practically everywhere for 60 euro cents or even less.

Re:Use 3G instead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28585755)

*ALL* 3G contracts in Italy are ripoffs. First X gigs or X hours are Y Euros, then from X+1 they cost Y*10 or even much more. A lot of people I know were ripped off thinking that if 100 hours a month are 20 Euros then 200 hours, would cost them 40 Euros. Someone tell me why the value of a gigabyte changes over time; I would accept for example if it cost more during daytime due to the higher load of the network, but surely not that way. These conditions are as usual buried into long contracts that nobody reads, but that doesn't change the fact that our telcos are fooling their customers in a dishonest way.

Re:Very cool. (0, Flamebait)

Klistvud (1574615) | more than 4 years ago | (#28585277)

Remember to take your cash too. Next, they'll start charging non-residents for drinking water from public fountains. Or, for sitting on park benches.

First! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28584717)

First!

How long ... (1)

Norsefire (1494323) | more than 4 years ago | (#28584781)

... until WiFi access is as ubiquitous as mobile-network access and people pay for usage much the same as for mobile phones.

Re:How long ... (2, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#28584879)

... until WiFi access is as ubiquitous as mobile-network access and people pay for usage much the same as for mobile phones.

Its a bit of a moot point because protocols change all the time and will no doubt converge in the medium term. If you pay a telco for a data service it won't really matter if the service is wifi or 3G in the future.

My prediction for the next five years or so is that some businesses will stop wiring their offices for data at all. They will use the 3G cellular network with VPNs for secure communication.

Not likely (4, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#28585085)

Wireless is MILES behind wired in terms of speed and reliability. I mean have a look: The very latest and greatest short range wireless tech is N, which is actually still draft technically. If everything is right, you can get 100mbps of actual throughput (throughput on wireless networks is much lower than physical rate). However even that isn't as good as it sounds. That bandwidth is shared with everyone on the same access point. It is a single collision domain. Thus as the number of clients goes up, effective bandwidth goes down.

Now compare that to wired networks. Gig Ethernet is standard these days. Hard to buy a NIC that isn't gig and gig switches are little more money than 100mbps switches. Also, each and every line on the switch has dedicated bandwidth, in both directions. You can do 1gbps up, 1gbps down at the same time, and so can everyone else. You don't grab bandwidth from each other.

Of course for uplinks, there's faster stuff, 10gigE is not cheap, but not too bad for a company, and you can bond multiple wires together.

So wireless isn't going to be taking over most businesses any time soon, unless they have really low bandwidth and latency needs.

Also, all this is talking about WiFi, not 3G. 3G is slow as hell. Even new TIA-856 Rev. B, which isn't out yet only gets 4.9mbps peak per carrier and about 3 carriers per tower. So you are taking about trying to share cable modem speeds with a whole office on a contention based network. Ya THAT'LL be great.

Sorry, but this kind of thing isn't going to happen until wireless is fast enough that it isn't noticeable slower than wired, and that it doesn't cost much more. While running cable is a pain, it isn't that much of a pain and you do it once and you are done for many years. I mean even if you laid Cat-3 cable back in 1990, you are still talking about speeds as good as N (better in real usage) and waaaay better than 3G. There's no usage fees either, like 3G. Your switch will happily move data for you all day without additional charge.

Of course this doesn't even touch on all the security and configuration issues that you'd have.

I just don't see the fully wireless office coming any time soon.

Re:Not likely (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 4 years ago | (#28585169)

I just don't see the fully wireless office coming any time soon.

It is already happening, and people are not noticing the slow speed because they are using neutered "NAS" devices instead of file servers (or quality NAS devices), so the slow wireless is not the bottleneck. As for getting out to the net, many businesses have a fairly slow or congested connection anyway so once again the slow wireless is not the bottleneck. The effects of building structure and/or the short range of antennas often mean that you have very few users per access point so the slow speed isn't really noticed much. It's convenient and the general public haven't noticed the speed problems yet so we'll see a few implementaions before some Forbes article comes out in a decade or so making your points above.

Personally I like it an untrusted network for mobile staff and all those visiting clients, salesfolk, visitors from competing companies, relatives etc that insist they must connect onto your network to get their email.

Re:Not likely (1)

Melkman (82959) | more than 4 years ago | (#28585271)

I agree that wired networks will be used by the big majority of businesses for quite some time. An other big advantage of wired networks is that they "just work" with very little problems. And if there is a problem, finding the cause is easy and quick. Problems with wireless networks however are a pain.

Re:Not likely (1)

Lennie (16154) | more than 4 years ago | (#28585519)

Also all wireless standard have been cracked. If I remember correctly you can send 1GB of wireless packets to Russia and they have a cluster of machines with lots of NVidia GPU's which will 'recover your key' for you in a week time for just a few 1000 dollars. On the fiber side of things you have very advanced systems that can even detect if a fiber has been cut or light deflected and resend. And fiber also can go up to 100 Gbit ethernet. I guess fiber might not be such an obvious choice your phone though, maybe cat5 or 6 might be more appropriate ? DECT is also usually not properly encrypted and easily broken if I'm not mistaken.

Enough ranting on wireless

Re:Not likely (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#28585641)

That I have trouble believing. WPA2 uses AES encryption which as far as I can tell is still completely secure. A break in AES would have implications far beyond wireless since it is used to encrypt SSH, financial transactions, government data, and so on. WEP is badly broken, of course, and you don't need anything more than a normal CPU to handle it. I could potentially believe TKIP has a break, though I find no information on this. However AES is the most tested cryptosystem in history, and thus far is secure.

One could, of course, attempt to brute force the key, but so long as the key is of reasonable length (say 12 characters or longer) it isn't happening in a person's lifetime. That also only applies to networks using pre-shared keys, and short or common ones at that. An enterprise setup that uses a certificate is not vulnerable in this matter.

Re:Not likely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28586215)

A couple of points: WPA2 is a crypto-system, AES is a cipher. Even without an attack on AES, the crypto system around it could be vulnerable. The attacks on WEP are mostly due to a bad cryptographic system not taking into account the known problems of the used cipher (RC4). AES is not synonymous with unbreakable.

Brute forcing a key isn't the only choice. You can try dictionary attacks first. Even if that fails, a brute force attack is not entirely unreasonable: There are people, like you, who vastly overestimate the cryptographic strength of passwords: A 12 character passphrase randomly chosen from the available set (95 characters) is one of 95^12 possible passphrases, i.e. it provides only about 79 bits of entropy (log2(95^12)). A typical passphrase is chosen from a much smaller set (for example lowercase letters and numbers) and not completely random. That is not enough to withstand a brute force attack.

Re:Not likely (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#28585469)

I just don't see the fully wireless office coming any time soon.

Not for big places but say you run a travel agency, or a little import operation. Many of your people need email but they can do that on their phones now. Maybe your receptionist has one of those netbooks you can buy from the phone company with 3G built in. If you don't need to transfer mass quantities of data, 3G might be enough.

In years past we had an nntp server on the LAN at work for internal forums. Now that I can get to outside forums I just don't bother. For the younger generation its just going to seem natural to do normal business on facebook.

Re:Not likely (1)

Barny (103770) | more than 4 years ago | (#28585685)

I just don't see the fully wireless office coming any time soon.

Sure it will, it will be as common as the paper-less office...

Re:Not likely (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 4 years ago | (#28585743)

I've been in plenty of offices that are 100% wireless, with a netgear in the corner serving their network. Not all companies are IT and need servers etc. and the average email/browsing/bespoke app stuff needs very little bandwidth to work well.

As far as your 3G comments go... have you been asleep or are you just American? We have cities here delivering 15mbps over 3G and even from my office I can stream a solid 6mbps. The backhauls on some of these towers have *huge* amounts of bandwidth & the slowdowns you used to get are becoming a lot rarer.

Re:How long ... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28584937)

It already is.

I'm currently posting from a train without a WLAN. I'm using Mokkula, a wireless modem the size of an USB stick. It costs me 20 euros a month and the speed is 2 mb/s.

There are cheaper models of it with lower speeds too and the area where this works is countrywide. (Granted, Finland is a country that is as big as a single state of USA)

Re:How long ... (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 4 years ago | (#28585765)

That's expensive IMO. I pay £5 a month (about 6 euros)... it's capable of 7.2Mbps but you really only get about 6-6.5 at best in cities, and a lot lower out in the sticks.

Damn thing is a godsend. Wifi is too expensive - expect to pay £10 per *hour* in the average hotel, and of course doesn't work when moving.
   

It is interesting that... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28584793)

...when there is talk about "free" internet there are cheers by the crowds and when there are talk about free health care the opionons are much more polarized.

Essentially it's the same thing, government and local authorities providing a "free" service. Of course it's not free, every citizen pays his share with taxes.

FYI I'm totally positive the government arranging for the basic needs of the public, such as health care, eduction, roads, but have not yet taking a stance in the internet.

Anyway, although i dont know much about italian internet i'm sure that if this becomes common practice it will affect companies that try to sell internet for living.

Re:It is interesting that... (2, Funny)

atraintocry (1183485) | more than 4 years ago | (#28584851)

Well in this case it's going to be paid for by the tourists who don't know how to spoof a MAC, and the rest of us get free internet!

Though to be fair I guess you could get free health care if you know how to spoof an SSN...

Re:It is interesting that... (2, Insightful)

dontmakemethink (1186169) | more than 4 years ago | (#28585035)

Here's an interesting comparison:

Paying for bottled water is popular without question in areas where people already pay for perfectly safe drinking water.

Where free wi-fi is proposed, the debate is virtually always a matter of ethics, and not cost.

Free health care? FUCK THAT!!! DON'T YOU DARE RAISE MY TAXES YOU PINKO COMMIES!!!

ahem.. I mean, it often encounters far more resistance.

Re:It is interesting that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28585079)

Yeah, they'll actually have to be worth the money you pay them. Perhaps with much faster speeds?

Re:It is interesting that... (1, Insightful)

Bluesman (104513) | more than 4 years ago | (#28585577)

Well, let me be the first to say that nothing is truly "free," and this isn't "free" wireless; it's wireless that is paid for through hidden costs (taxes) that Venicians probably did not have a choice but to bear. Adding an intermediary between you and the service provider of nearly any industry can only mean higher costs, because for every intermediate step there's overhead.

For something as relatively inexpensive as providing wireless access points, the penalty is innocuous for believing you can get something for nothing. Believe that about health care, and the penalty can be rather severe.

Thus the difference in response.

Re:It is interesting that... (1)

Eevee (535658) | more than 4 years ago | (#28586483)

Adding an intermediary between you and the service provider of nearly any industry can only mean higher costs, because for every intermediate step there's overhead.

Sort of like how you pay more for health coverage via your employer compared to getting it yourself? While there is overhead, there is also the ability to negotiate a better rate due to the collective value of a city's worth of people.

(And, just to be an ass about it, there's a layer of overhead that the wifi vendor has internal to the company for dealing with individual customers that you're neglecting. The number of people required to handle a city's population worth of accouts has got to be greater than the city's overhead for staffing a unit to negotiate the wifi service.)

Sounds nice (4, Insightful)

fearlezz (594718) | more than 4 years ago | (#28584869)

But what about privacy? Internet-cafe's are required to make a copy of your passport when you're using their internet. How much will you be spied on when using the wifi service? I guess all packets are stored "against terrorism/child pornography/critisism on berlusconi". Guess the only way to be safe is to setup a vpn and redirect everything over it.

Re:Sounds nice (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28584943)

But what about privacy? Internet-cafe's are required to make a copy of your passport when you're using their internet.

Where is that? Here in Finland they don't and I've never heard that it would have proved to be a problem (IE: Would have result in excessive illegal use or the right).

The bars here have WLANs that are one of the three: Completely open, have passwords written on a blackboard on the wall or have passwords that you can ask from the staff (usually for free as long as you buy something).

As for internet cafes, not only do they require nothing like that here but I've traveled quite a lot especially in southern Europe and never been even asked my first name in those places.

Re:Sounds nice (2, Interesting)

THEbwana (42694) | more than 4 years ago | (#28585019)

Where is that?

In Italy. See:
http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2005/10/passport_requir.html
for more info.

sinking city? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28584871)

Well they have to get something before their city sinks into the ocean.

Re:sinking city? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28585017)

haven't you heard they are planing to dome the city so that it can still exist even if it drops 20 feet

already free access to WLAN (1)

napsy (1107247) | more than 4 years ago | (#28584883)

Slovenian capitol city Ljubljana already has a grid of free WLAN hotpoints for everyone.

Re:already free access to WLAN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28584925)

Slovenian capitol city Ljubljana already has a grid of free WLAN hotpoints for everyone.

So?

Wireless@SG (1)

FeebleOldMan (1089749) | more than 4 years ago | (#28584909)

Singapore has had free wireless coverage [wikipedia.org] in major areas since 2006. I'm glad to see more cities following suit.

Re:Wireless@SG (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#28584921)

Have to say I am sceptical of that. I spent a week in Changi Village (one of the localities in the article you linked to) a year ago. I didn't detect any wifi at all. I paid $12 SG per hour for wired internet, charged to work of course. In fact the only free wifi I know of in the region is in KL airport. But it is oversubscribed and very slow.

Re:Wireless@SG (1)

dnwq (910646) | more than 4 years ago | (#28585191)

The free coverage is limited to built-up public areas, not islandwide (which makes sense - this is a tropical city, who goes outside to work? Hide indoors under air conditioning!). So to find the free wifi you need to trek to the nearest McDonald's or such.

Why free internet? (0)

trickyD1ck (1313117) | more than 4 years ago | (#28584927)

As my economics Professor so elegantly explains:
"And you need top understand that there is such a thing as a free lunch. Canadian health care is free. How do we know that? Because that is what the phrase says. Free. F-R-E-E. Therefore, no one pays for it. It's just there, just like that. Canadian legislators took the advice of an economist like (but not quite like) myself, and with a stroke of a pen, made it free. "
next free booze for the unemployed, free birth control for the retarded and free money for all!

With good reason (3, Funny)

canonymous (1445409) | more than 4 years ago | (#28584935)

It's a public safety issue! The less wires the better for the next time the city floods.

Re:With good reason (1)

lxs (131946) | more than 4 years ago | (#28585159)

And when the Mexican flu hits, they don't have to leave their houses.

This event will be chronicled in the Decametweet [wikipedia.org] .

Radical proposal?? (4, Interesting)

Alsee (515537) | more than 4 years ago | (#28584965)

I've read a fair number of these 'City-X provides free internet' stories, and as far as I can tell they all have something in common... they all require everyone to to register their identity with the government and log on with a username-password.

To my ears, thats like the government setting up a free water fountain in a park and requiring people to swipe a drivers license or other ID in order to unlock the water. In fact it sounds to me like they are SPENDING who-knows-how-much EXTRA money to buy and maintain the ID scanner and weld it to the water fountain.

Is it jut me, or are there others out there thinking that free public water fountains (and free public public access WiFi points) should simply be open?

-

Re:Radical proposal?? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28585077)

True. We have this service in most public parks of Rome too, but you need to sign in using a cellphone which is of course registered with your personal data, therefore anonimity is not possible. We have to thank for this nonsense the stupid anti-terrorism laws that our politicians enacted blindly following the example of other countries.

Re:Radical proposal?? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28585137)

how else do you suppose we ban abusers?
without a unique token, we can't stop them.

Re:Radical proposal?? (2, Informative)

worf_mo (193770) | more than 4 years ago | (#28585187)

Unfortunately, in Italy, thanks to one of the so called laws against terrorism (in this case L155/2005 [camera.it] ) whoever offers public access to Internet, be it via a wireless hotspot or an Internet cafe or any other means, must first register the customer's data by requesting a valid ID card (or passport, driver's license) and then collect and preserve usage data (but not content).

Of course criminal organizations and terrorists are using the Internet, but so are millions of law-abiding citizens. And the same criminal organizations and terrorists have been using the telephone system for decades, but public pay phones do not require people to swipe an ID card. Yet.

 

Re:Radical proposal?? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28585279)

What will the Jews do now? We can't have thousands of people being able to post ANONYMOUSLY on the internet, without the constant threat of imprisonment, for 'saying the wrong things', can we!

How will the Jews maintain their grip on our governments and media, if we find out the truth about the 'Holocaust'?

Re:Radical proposal?? (1)

dkf (304284) | more than 4 years ago | (#28585815)

Is it jut me, or are there others out there thinking that free public water fountains (and free public access WiFi points) should simply be open?

You're not required to use the free wifi; other mechanisms are still available. "Free" speech does not necessarily mean that it is zero cost, just unrestricted (especially with regard to the political domain). It also does not guarantee anonymity; free speech is public speech.

To put it a different way: why would the citizens of Venice feel that they have to subsidize your porn access with their taxes?

Re:Radical proposal?? (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 4 years ago | (#28586125)

The concept of non-free wifi hotspots sounds as alien to me today as it sound the first day I encountered one.

Re:Radical proposal?? (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#28586771)

It's too bad that Internet service isn't more like cable, water, or electricity, where the usage of the service can only be monitored in gross terms, e.g. gallons or watt-hours. It could be, if everything was encrypted and there were plenty of proxies; then all the last-mile provider would see is large blocks of random data.

e-gondola broadband (1)

tbj61898 (643014) | more than 4 years ago | (#28584989)

With WIFI area coverage all over the famous lagoon city it won't take long for services like "e-gondola", a new service dedicated to people all over the world, mostly lovers but also curious, for their chance to do a [not very] cheap trip under famous Venice bridges and channels... in total relax from their home, wherever they live.

Someone want to invest in such a good idea? ;-)

NIce, BUT: (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#28585005)

What is the bandwith? Is there a cap on the amount of data?

Because, you know, bandwith on the backbone is not free.

Re:NIce, BUT: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28585569)

Is that the reason you leave out the second d from bandwidth?

It's not really free as in beer... (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 4 years ago | (#28585047)

... because the city residents have paid - and will be paying - for the infrastructure and the service through taxes or other levied fees. It's only "free" in the sense that there's no per-minute or per-hour charges; there's still a cost for it, and the city has to pay for it all somehow. That somehow is most likely higher municipal taxes, whether higher property tax or something else. I'm not saying that's a bad thing... far from it, if it's being done efficiently. This is collectivism at its best, hopefully. It's just not truly free.

Re:It's not really free as in beer... (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 4 years ago | (#28585551)

I bet their tax increase is a lot less than my broadband bill.

Re:It's not really free as in beer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28586157)

I bet you use more bandwidth than the venetians, on average, use.

Re:It's not really free as in beer... (1)

squeeze69 (756427) | more than 4 years ago | (#28586151)

I don't know, if Cacciari (the major) is smart enough, Venice could get a really cheap contract through sponsors. It's a little bit known in the world and has some tourist now and then. :-)

Vacation? (1)

Nivlheim (1024343) | more than 4 years ago | (#28585627)

Here I am, a tourist currently right smack in the middle of Venice. And not until I read it on Slashdot two days after the fact have I realized what the big stage on Piazza S. Marco was for.

What do you mean 'talk to people'?

Cool! But... (0, Flamebait)

that IT girl (864406) | more than 4 years ago | (#28585903)

Personally, I think it's pretty neat... But I know a few people with electrosensitivity that have problems if they are around an emitted signal like that for any length of time. Driving past Internet cafés or coming by my house for a few minutes is no big deal, but if it were there 24/7, some people may not even be able to live there.
I guess there should be some compromise--yes, people want there to be Internet everywhere, not just designated hot-spots, but there's this other side of the coin too.

Before anybody calls BS, I was skeptical of RF sensitivity too, but I've looked into it and it seems to be real for some folks. Plus, I can hide my wireless router somewhere where you can't see the lights, and my friend can tell me whether it's on or not just from being in the house for a few minutes. It's actually kind of cool, except for the part where he gets a headache after about an hour if I don't turn it off. Weird.

Re:Cool! But... (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#28586255)

For anyone feeling anecdotal, here is a healthy dose of BS calling:

http://www.badscience.net/category/electrosensitivity/ [badscience.net]

Re:Cool! But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28586627)

Well they are not electosensitive since they fail double blind tests.
However they think they are and the suffering they experience
is "real" even though it is self inflicted by their mind.

Re:Cool! But... (1)

that IT girl (864406) | more than 4 years ago | (#28586649)

So one nutjob discredits loads of other folks? Sorry, I believe my good friend over this guy, plus I've seen him call it correctly 100% of the time as to whether I've got my wireless on. It's a game at this point, I've tried to trick him but he's spot on every time. I imagine some folks in Venice may experience the same thing, and I can see many being unhappy about this. Pity since it's quite useful for many others.

Re:Cool! But... (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#28586697)

Calling Ben Goldacre a nutjob is ridiculous. He's a medical doctor. One that actually believes in science.

You believing in your friend is mostly harmless (except you post publicly about it). Other failures to be sufficiently skeptical and realize the benefit of the enlightenment (you are literally willing yourself to live part of your life in the dark ages) lead to fucking evil bullshit like this:

http://www.badscience.net/2009/04/matthias-rath-steal-this-chapter/ [badscience.net]

Pure fucking evil. All because people refuse to set aside mysticism.

Aside: when you turn off your router, how often does your friend also turn off his mobile phone?

Re:Cool! But... (1)

that IT girl (864406) | more than 4 years ago | (#28586795)

I was referring to Coghill, not Goldacre.

And as for my friend, he leaves the phone off most of the time, unless he needs to make a call or knows someone is trying to contact him on it. He uses the landline at home and just has the cell for emergencies when he is out. This is a regular guy, he's not into religion, or conspiracy theories, or anything wacky. I highly doubt he'd believe in this if he weren't experiencing it firsthand.

But hey, I don't seem to suffer any ill effects. I don't think most folks do, so I'm at least willing to admit I might be wrong. I'm not attacking either side. Why can't you do the same?

Hume's principle (3, Interesting)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 4 years ago | (#28586377)

Faced with a choice between the apparently miraculous (your friend is able to detect minute levels of RF) and the alternative (you know whether it is off or on and you give subtle visual clues) I will go for the latter every single time.

In Glastonbury, UK, people complained of headaches caused by a town center wireless station, but amazingly none of them were affected by their mobile phones. On the other hand, the leader of the complainers seems to be in the business of selling magic crystals that protect you from RF radiation. Strangely, where I live, in a different part of Somerset with a lot more industry and wireless networks all over the place, nobody seems to suffer.

Re:Hume's principle (1)

that IT girl (864406) | more than 4 years ago | (#28586657)

All I know is what I've seen, I won't even mention the bloody thing until he does, and at this point I've even purposefully tried to trick him but he can always tell. The only thing worse than a "nutjob" believing a "crazy" story is someone who is so closed-minded from the other side that they refuse to admit the possibility they may be wrong.

Aaah La Repubblica Serenissima (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#28585909)

after all, theirs was the longest lasting ever republic, lasting more than 1000 years. no surpise that some of the spirit still remains.

LAN? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28585983)

10 megametre of glassfibre is not a LAN. Can we get some competence in stories here, people?

Re:MAN? (1)

javajawa (126489) | more than 4 years ago | (#28586855)

It's a MAN, however that is indistinguishable from a LAN for all intents and purposes on the user end. However, I also think things stopped being LANs when they went wireless.

Venice for Italians (1)

steveha (103154) | more than 4 years ago | (#28586705)

I suspect that one of the reasons the Italian government did this was to make Venice a little bit more attractive as a place to live.

Venice is an amazing place, full of history. It's also an expensive place, as it is somewhat disconnected (no cars or trucks for hauling stuff, just boats and hand carts) and the glorious old houses are somewhat crumbling. I read that the Italian government is worried about a trend where wealthy foreigners buy apartments or houses in Venice; they don't want Venice to become primarily a theme park for the wealthy, they would rather have Italians living there. IIRC if you are Italian and you move to Venice, you can get a stipend from the Italian government to help defray your living expenses.

This is clever. Venice is small enough to be carpeted wall-to-wall with good wireless signal, and it shouldn't have cost too much. It's a simple thing that wasn't hard to do that will make Venice much more interesting as a place to live.

steveha

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