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Estonia Embraces Wi-Fi Wireless Internet Access

simoniker posted more than 9 years ago | from the eurovision-wifi-contest dept.

Wireless Networking 175

securitas writes "BBC Technology's Clark Boyd reports on one man's efforts to make free 802.11 Wi-Fi wireless Internet access ubiquitous in Estonia. An estimated two-thirds of Estonia is now covered by wireless hotspots according to Veljo Haamer, who convinced Estonia's major oil companies, Neste and Statoil, to install free hotspots at gas stations. Two-thirds of Estonia's approximately 280 public hotspots are free to use, all of which are marked with signs. But Haamer still wardrives for dead-spots and next plans to get free wireless access to public parks and green spaces. Last year Slashdot covered Estonia's legislation declaring Internet access a human right."

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175 comments

Ninnle has you ! (1)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071531)

The matrix is obsolete ! :)

OBLIGATORY ESTONIA QUOTE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071581)

Shouldn't they get indoor plumbing first?

Is it gloryhole compliant? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071705)

A poem

~-~-~-

I truly feel it is my calling
To go throughout this land installing
Gloryholes in all the stalls
Of the USA

So if you hear my labored sawing
Through yonder stall partition walling
Poke ol' Norton through the hole
and say "Neighbor, good day!"

And don't be shy
Or try to lie
Because it's plain as day
Dear friend, you're reading Slashdot
And therefore you are gay

Lady on the train (4, Interesting)

ObviousGuy (578567) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071543)

I ride the train to and from work all the time here in Tokyo. The other day an obviously mentally ill woman walked down the isle and asked everyone to turn off their cellphones. The signals made her heart murmur, she said. So at first I turned off my cellphone and just cursed her under my breath.

Later, after it was clear that she had satisfied her mental illness and sat down in her seat, I fired up my cellphone again for a short game of tetris. Please note that I am about half a train length away from her. When she decided it was time to bother people again, I put my foot down and refused to turn off the phone.

First of all, the phone is not emitting any signals of significant strength, especially not enough to cause heart palpitations in someone 10 yards away. Second, I was not talking on the phone, which could definitely be considered rude. Finally, I had simply had enough with her mumbo jumbo and needed to express my frustration.

Now I read this story and begin to wonder if I've caught her mental illness. I am not saying that I get physical side effects from electronic devices. God knows that I'd be dead from exposure by now if that were the case. But I wonder how much technology is enough. If there is any point to trying to maintain a technology free area.

The crazy woman was trying to create a small radio-free zone around her. I thought she was insane, but now I'm not so sure.

Re:Lady on the train (5, Insightful)

darkgreen (599556) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071577)

Actually, I think it's a great idea. The fact that it's wireless lets you get it out of the 'view' of the public - no place to plug into means no lines for an outlet, or crowding around just one place.

You can take any idea too far, granted, and having wireless everywhere doesn't mean it's ok to use at every chance you get (similar to having coverage for your cell doesn't mean it's alright to start yelling into the phone (and my ear) during my dinner, or commute, etc. Compared to that, I'd take a commute on the train with 50 people clicking away instead of chattering cell phones any day.

Technology is great, it's courtesy we're lacking.

Re:Lady on the train (1, Funny)

darkgreen (599556) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071590)

Of course, that's until I read this:
Cafes that offer free internet access are filled with young professionals checking email, surfing the web, and designing PowerPoint presentations.

ugh. Powerpoint. I get the feeling I'd be able to hear the horribly-designed templates.

Re:Lady on the train (2, Insightful)

absquatulatrix (768250) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071578)

By two-thirds-coverage, they must mean proximity to a hotspot, right? Like being in the same town as a cafe with one? Maybe I'm seriously misinformed about the current range of these things, but I can't imagine 280 hotspots covering two-thirds of the total area of the country. But no matter how the country is covered, I don't see the problem, especially if wireless just happens to be the simplest way to get everyone Internet access. As long as for most people the Internet remains a means to various ends, rather than an end in itself (hm, perhaps this isn't something I should be expressing on slashdot!)

Re:Lady on the train (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071963)

Well, their version of the FCC might not have the same power restrictions on transmission that exist here in the states. So a hotspot could be decidedly larger.

Re:Lady on the train (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071601)

Well, Estonia is bathing its people in 802.11 waves. In a few years we'll know if there are any problems. Thank you Estonia for your large-scale human experiment!

Re:Lady on the train (3, Insightful)

DigitumDei (578031) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071630)

Don't ham radios put out a much stronger signal on the same frequency range? There was a time when ham radio's were quite popular (and in some places they still are) and I don't remember anything about ham radio's massive cancer causing properties.

Re:Lady on the train (2, Interesting)

smc13 (762065) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071848)

Aren't 802.11B and G using the same frequency as cordless phones? 2.4 GHZ, right? If a cordless phone doesn't harm you, why would a wireless ethernet connection?

Not improbable (2, Interesting)

upside (574799) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071680)

I saw a TV programme that featured a teacher who has become hypersenstive to electomagnetic radiation. He can't get close to mobile phones or computers or he becomes ill. Apparently copy machines are the worst.

Re:Not improbable (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071975)

Was this a journalism "feature"? I'm wondering if they were looking for something to hype, and didn't perform a proper test.

Of course, when you're filming for a TV show, you don't want to cut production half way through on accound of a lack of proper evidence. You'll have already spent a good deal on equipment, crew, and possibly props.

Re:Lady on the train (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071761)

Living in Tokyo myself, I can only assume that after causing a scene with a mentally handicapped lady, everyone was staring at you, the crazy gaijin causing a scene. Was that game of Tetris THAT important?

For those not in the know, there are signs on all the trains in Tokyo that specifically say you can't use your cell phone on the train, and it must be turned off near the priority seats at both ends of the car. (These are for senior citizens, handicapped people, pregnant ladies and so on so forth. It's also a radio wave free zone, for those with pace makers.)

OT: the problem with Japan (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071804)

The problem here is evident in the way you phrased your post. The right should be quiet and let the loud and wrong walk all over them. This is why the Yakuza is as strong as they are, this is why the streets are littered with bags of garbage.

In the west we have the saying "all it takes for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing". However in Japan, the emphasis on minding one's own business and keeping one's hands clean is an overarching theme. Because of this, no one is willing to put up a fight when the time demands it, whether it be taking back a neighborhood from gangsters, admonishing children who are acting up in public with no supervision, or even something simple as demanding that the police do something about grafitti.

Rather than do something proactive, the Japanese would rather put up a little sign encouraging everyone to play nice. I drive along 357 between Tokyo and Makuhari frequently and see the trash along the side of the road. This is household stuff, in garbage bags. It isn't your absentmindedly tossed pet bottle or coffee can. The signs they put up recently encourage us, "michi wo kirei ni shimashoo" - "let's keep the street clean".

This kind of passivity encourages the wrong-doers because they know that there is no penalty for doing wrong. Whether it be tossing trash on the road, harrassing other train riders, or driving unmuffled motorcycles through neighborhoods at 3 in the morning, there is no penalty. Anything can be done with impunity in Japan, you just have to have the right attitude. No one will confront you, and no one will take steps to prevent you from doing it again.

I think it is a cultural flaw that this kind of heiwa-boke exists in Japan. If telling off a woman who is harrassing everyone on the train is wrong, then I don't want to be right.

Re:OT: the problem with Japan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071817)

In the west we have the saying "all it takes for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing".

Ah, yes, the White Man's Burden. That kind of attitude is the cause of the Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kosovo wars. And those places sure are safer today!

Re:Lady on the train (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9072128)

Although I understand your annoyance, the woman's complaint was genuine. She probably had pertussis, caused by the bacteria Bordetella pertussis, which affets around 1 in 4560 people of far eastern origin. The main trigger for this is radio waves from 100 - 2700 MHz, precisely in the range of your cell phone, these waves happen to be at the resonant frequency of the woman's hypothalamus, causing it to vibrate slightly. She would have experienced a strong headache and an inability to think clearly due to the emissions from your phone.

Interestingly the Japanese army employed people with this condition in WW2 in order to detect radar stations as they ahve an incredible sensitivity for radio waves around that frequency. Unfortunately many died and their families have not been compensated.

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is 100% coverage necessary? (4, Insightful)

darkewolf (24563) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071550)

A anti-geek as it may sound, I really can't see a need for 100% wireless coverage of any country large or small.

When I got to parks or outdoors, I do it to relax and escape the technology that I work with and live with. I go find a tree in a nice park near the river and sit quietly and listen to the water, the wind and the birds.

I really don't want to sit there and hear some guys talking about how they can watch their stock prices change second by second now, or some brat fragging a buddy whilst enjoying nature.

Oh well, I am safe from it in Australia at least.

Re:is 100% coverage necessary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071575)

You aren't thinking laterally...

Next time that little camping brat frags your arse, you can go grab a limb off the nearest tree and club him to death!

Re:is 100% coverage necessary? (1)

Mdalek (702460) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071586)


:o Trees have limbs?

Re:is 100% coverage necessary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071613)

They sure do were I live: http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=limb

OIC, you're from the UK. Sorry.

Re:is 100% coverage necessary? (1, Funny)

Exiler (589908) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071579)

Ya see, my plan is that we strap wifi repeaters on the backs of some dingos and kangaroos and then put bulky, overpowered access points on the koalas. We'll have australia blanketed in warm radio glow in no time!

Re:is 100% coverage necessary? (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071983)

Better go with mesh network nodes. That way sections can still communicate within a region, even if that region becomes isolated from the main network.

Re:is 100% coverage necessary? (1)

acceber (777067) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071595)

An estimated two-thirds of Estonia is now covered by wireless hotspots...

As convenient wi-fi technology can be and the benefits of increased accessibility in communication, such developments would probably see some major changes in social values and priorities.

The world nowadays relies on the internet so heavily, it would be hard to imagine life without it. It may well reach a point when internet communication replaces human face to face contact , relationships are maintained without the need for going out and sending letters via snail mail would cease as a form of communication altogether.

Re:is 100% coverage necessary? (2, Interesting)

pubjames (468013) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071597)

A anti-geek as it may sound, I really can't see a need for 100% wireless coverage of any country large or small.

Well, if you have 100% coverage, in theory you wouldn't need mobile phones, you could do voice over ip. Free mobile phone calls - neat!

Re:is 100% coverage necessary? (4, Insightful)

targo (409974) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071622)

A anti-geek as it may sound, I really can't see a need for 100% wireless coverage of any country large or small.

I really don't want to sit there and hear some guys talking about how they can watch their stock prices change second by second now, or some brat fragging a buddy whilst enjoying nature.

How is this different from having 100% cell phone service coverage? You could similarly say that it would be bothersome to have people talking on their cell phones everywhere and all the time.
This has actually nothing to do with coverage and everything to do with people's culture.
Estonia has had 100% cell coverage for a while now but I must say I find Estonian cell phone users less obtrusive than say, Americans (I live in the US most of the time but visit Estonia every now and then).
America is about 5 years behind Estonia and other frontrunners in Europe when it comes to embracing cell phones and going through the same problems Europe did (people using their phones as status symbols and showing off and being a pain in the ass). However, people have really embraced the cell phone culture and gotten over the initial growth pain, there's much more respect to other people, less showing off and more maturity in general. I expect America to catch up in a few years in that respect.

Similarly, wireless Internet will evolve through the same stages, there will be a period of adolescence and then maturity. In 10 years, wireless coverage will be everywhere and we will wonder how we ever got by without it (similar to regular Internet or cell phones today).

Re:is 100% coverage necessary? (2, Interesting)

DigitumDei (578031) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071665)

With small 802.11b/g capable devices getting more and more common and powerful [slashdot.org], 100% coverage is becoming more and more useful. Here in South Africa, cell phone coverage has gotten better and better (to the point where people living in tin shacks and barely enough money to feed their family still manage to own cell phones). One can only hope that something similar with hot spots happens here (though I dobut it). Once things like this take off the benifits are amazing, people just have to learn how to turn the devices off once in a while. :)

Re:is 100% coverage necessary? (1)

baldcamel (754810) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071807)

I find this whole 100% coverage a bit strange. Living in the southwest of england (Devon and Cornwall) coverage is nowhere near 100%. One network might cover the area but others won't. So I don't think that wireless networking has much of a chance.

And does 100% mean population or area? Both in low denisty population areas is surely pointless in terms of cost and visual impact on the enviroment?

Re:is 100% coverage necessary? (1)

moro_666 (414422) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071694)

basically i don't think that covering luxemburg or andorra or sri lanka would be a great deal nor an investment.
they have hightech around them 24/7 anyway, these waves of net won't disturb anyone.

but as they are quite big exceptions they obviously don't count as a "country" in your context.

basically you got tv-signals and radio-signals around you the whole day (except if you dive into the sea), and they don't seem to disturb you, do they ?

i think i'll have barrel of beer when australia gets it's whole land area covered with wireless :p
as for estonia, i'm here and i'm for sure not sitting in the wireless enabled area right now, too bad :(

Re:is 100% coverage necessary? (1)

darkewolf (24563) | more than 9 years ago | (#9072045)

Its not the coverage / signals that bother me. Its the potential abuse of it I guess.

I have rarely seen someone with a TV sitting in the park getting in the way of the summer breeze. Radio now and again, and alas far too many mobile phones.

However I guess its fairly inevitable. I guess its time to buy wireless to prepare for never being able to escape work:

Boss: Hey, I know you told us you were picnicing all weekend with family, but our test server that is used once a week during business hours has gone down. We need you to log in and reset the system.. We know you can, you have a tablet PC and that area has wireless connection.

Me: I just retired and will take up potato farming instead..

Oh well :)

I'm envious (2, Interesting)

strook (634807) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071551)

If only my college campus could have wireless access comparable to Estonia's. And I go to Berkeley, you'd think it would look more like the future by now.

This is America, we're supposed to have the best of everything at the mere cost of selling our souls. So how come I don't get free wireless internet? How come we're 10th in percent of the population with broadband access? I blame monopolistic business practices. Wake me up when SBC finally opens their lines to competitors like they were allegedly forced to years ago.

Re:I'm envious (4, Funny)

ectoraige (123390) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071565)

we're supposed to have the best of everything at the mere cost of selling our souls. So how come I don't get free wireless internet?

Sadly, souls aren't the valued commodity they once were. Too many people selling, the market is over-supplied. Now mini-iPods, you sell yours, you'll get your free wireless...

Re:I'm envious (4, Funny)

pubjames (468013) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071692)

This is America, we're supposed to have the best of everything

You don't have the best of everything. We've got stuff here in Europe you don't:

1) Yummy chocolate.
2) Castles! Real ones! We've got lots of them!

And, erm. That's it. But isn't that enough?

Bet you're jealous about the castles...

Re:I'm envious (1, Funny)

tarunthegreat2 (761545) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071714)

The Indian food is better in UK. Plus we also drive on the better side of the rd. Finally, Nokia cellphones sold in Europe/Asia beat the crap out of any mobiles you get in America.

Re:I'm envious (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071773)

and we can spell.

Re:I'm envious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9072090)

Yeah, right...
And something which deserves the name "Democracy".

Re:I'm envious (1)

StrawberryFrog (67065) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071988)

This is America, we're supposed to have the best of everything

Says who? It's no law of nature. You certainly don't have the best public healthcare, and the overall quality of life indexes are highest in the Nordic countries. And don't get me started on the quality of the USA's polical processes.

Re:I'm envious (1)

Lucius Septimius Sev (766060) | more than 9 years ago | (#9072100)

Says who? It's no law of nature. You certainly don't have the best public healthcare, and the overall quality of life indexes are highest in the Nordic countries. And don't get me started on the quality of the USA's polical processes.

When nordic nations state owned oil companies run out of oil to drill and sell we will see how long you have that "free" healthcare. :)

Re:I'm envious (1)

rozz (766975) | more than 9 years ago | (#9072047)

This is America, we're supposed to have the best of everything

i won't worry if i were you ... at least you people have the BIGGEST [andersandersen.com] of everything!

Re:I'm envious (1)

basingwerk (521105) | more than 9 years ago | (#9072084)

> we're supposed to have the best of everything

Americans have the _most_ of everything (e.g. debt and polution) not the best.

Neste (3, Informative)

rasjani (97395) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071552)

Just a sidenote, Neste is not Estonian company. Its Finnish company, part of the bigger Fortum concern.
Links:

Re:Neste (3, Informative)

targo (409974) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071564)

Just a sidenote, Neste is not Estonian company

Neither is Statoil. I believe the phrase "Estonia's major oil companies" should be read as "major oil companies operating in Estonia".

Statoil (3, Informative)

blcamp (211756) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071558)


And Statoil is not Estonian, either.

It is Norwegian.

http://www.statoil.com/

Re:Statoil (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071790)

And remember, First you mary, the you statoil!

Wardriving for dead-spots!! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071562)

That's not how to do it :-)

Re:Wardriving for dead-spots!! (1)

CdBee (742846) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071642)

Well, if like Obviousguy you disllike being surrounded by technology, it's no bad notion.....

Free internet access for how long? (5, Insightful)

grisken (776441) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071573)

Companies like statoil (which is a norwegian state owned company) might release this service as free in a certain "test" period. But i doubt they wont charge people for this if wi-fi really takes off. Statoil did this in norway too. You coud access free wifi hotspots, but after a couple of months you had to pay for it. (About a dollar pr. mb transferred). Though Estonia and Norway are two different countries (here, gas makes only for 13% of gas stations income profits. The biggest is actualy sousages and soda)... but as i said. Im skeptical.

Re:Free internet access for how long? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071749)

I live in Estonia and I guess, that the wifi cost is probably in the gas price and they support the service with their profit. So if you tank and don't use internet, then you have to blame yourself, as you have paid for the service anyway.

Re:Free internet access for how long? (1)

grisken (776441) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071993)

Ok, but if you read my post im talking about prior experiences made with the same oil company which is providing free access to the internet in your country now. What im saying is that they might not do that in the future if this gets popular and/or the costs of maintaining this service exceeds the cost budget becouse of this. We are not talking about state subsided internet access here, but private companies offering this as a gesture. Maybe temporarily, maybe not. All i say is that its a good thing to question the motives of people bent on making money from others.

This doesn't add up at all. (0)

amitofu (705703) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071583)

280 hotspots cover 2/3 of the country? I knew Estonia was, but sheesh.

Re:This doesn't add up at all. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071625)

Err, "was" what? Covered by pineapples?

umm, isn't something wrong here? (5, Insightful)

jpu8086 (682572) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071593)

how in the world do 280 public hot spots cover two-thirds of a country (that is 45,226 sq km [cia.gov] in area)?

what is the technology behind these super hot spots? or is this just another case of aggrandized mathematics?

Re:umm, isn't something wrong here? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071643)

Yep, its wrong, the article only says that 2/3 of them are free. I am living in Estonia, and there are plans to cover our capital - Tallinn - with free wifi access.

But the hotspots are ubiquotuous here - and clearly marked. So when you come to visit, dont forget your laptops.

Re:umm, isn't something wrong here? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071646)

I'm Estonian from Tallinn and most certainly it's not true that 2/3 of the country has been covered by wireless internet. What mr. Haamer was meaning was probably that in 2/3 of the country you're able too find a spot where you can use wifi. Whether it's a gas station, hotel, cafe etc. A quite big part of the country is covered by forests and there it would be very difficult to find any urban comforts, not only wifi :-)
In the capital, Tallinn wifi spots are quite easy to find, but many of them are not free. No coverage on the streets yet, but the city authorities are planning to cover some parks in the center with wifi.

Re:umm, isn't something wrong here? (1)

Lurker McLurker (730170) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071783)

Perhaps they mean two-thirds of the population. Which in a small country could live in only a few towns and cities.

Re:umm, isn't something wrong here? (1)

istaz (694207) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071803)

the next question is how many estonian possess portable computers? or wifi equipped pda? laptop to me is still considered a luxury item.

In related news... (4, Funny)

lastberserker (465707) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071611)

Countries of Vatican and Luksemburg quickly followed the lead and covered their respective territories by Wi-Fi access points. One per country.

Re: Estonia Embraces Wi-Fi Wireless Internet Acces (2, Insightful)

manavendra (688020) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071612)

I'm not sure where this is leading to. Certainly other /.'ers haven't said much about this. Yet.

Education is declared a human right in several countries, specifically the developing countries, but do they get it? Even with government-funded schools and subsidies? Isn't this a case of stuff-in-your-face?

OTOH, it's good to have Wi-Fi access points at as many places possible. This is truly a step towards the ever-shrinking, connected, global society. But then again, what would be the impacts? How will such a culture change us? With easier and faster access, it isn't far when the only sport would be "surfing" - and the one that doesn't involve any boards !

Re: Estonia Embraces Wi-Fi Wireless Internet Acces (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071674)

Abey chup ho ja maa ke lowde. Teri maa ki puddi behenchod. Jaa upni lund ko badi karne ki koshish kar

Re: Estonia Embraces Wi-Fi Wireless Internet Acces (4, Insightful)

cozziewozzie (344246) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071698)

Education is declared a human right in several countries, specifically the developing countries, but do they get it? Even with government-funded schools and subsidies? Isn't this a case of stuff-in-your-face?

It is, and it should be. Education is not just a basic human right, but also a basic human responsibility towards others. If you don't want to learn how to live in a civilised society, go live in a cave somewhere.

I pity all the people who don't have access to free education, or are denied it all over the world, while some fat kids from rich countries think it is their right to sit in front of the TV and never learn to spell. Let them eat cake, I say.

Groucho Marxism (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071615)

First Estonia, maybe next Freedonia. :)

Mission Impossible (3, Insightful)

dutt (738848) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071617)

It's got to be a hell of a job to try and administer a fully open network, covering 2/3 rds of a country.

Just imagine how tight you would have to have the security, and even then it would be hard to keep control over it all.

Administration of it all sounds like a impossible mission. We'll maybe not impossible, but very hard.

Estonia hey? (2, Funny)

m4k3r (777443) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071618)

Estonia hey...

that's an aweful lot of pringles cans I'm gonna need for free net.

A new threat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071638)

Estonia and the other EU countries are increasingly becoming a new threat. With the rise of statism, how much longer until we are all under a single world government? The implications for liberty and privacy are worrying. Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuhrer [bbc.co.uk] indeed.

Re:A new threat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071681)

I believe there is a need for something like this... We've got to have something to put up against America.

Re:A new threat (2)

upside (574799) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071834)

Baaah, statism has been dying for a decade. Estonia is the most liberal country in the EU, at least in terms of the economy. Flat tax rate, no company tax etc.

A threat to what, I may add.

Not true. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071640)

First, I live in Estonia.

The claim of 2/3 coverage is of course nonsense. I don't know where this came from. The BBC article tells that 2/3 are free to use (although I don't think it's true, maybe it was so half a year ago), not that 2/3 of the country is covered.

Re:Not true. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071907)

Good point, I got 5 access points in my house and this folks claim they covered the entire country with 280 hot-spots!

wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071651)

I am astounded by all the angsty anti-technology comments here.

Spammers paradise? (2, Interesting)

holgie (588031) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071656)

Wouldn't this make it spammers paradise? Or is there some sort of authentication?
There are 2 Kinds of planes: Fighters, and targets.

There are 2 Kinds of boats: Submarines, and targets.
There are 2 Kinds of 4x4's: Jeeps and SOB's (Some other brand)
There are 2 Kinds of OS's: Unix, and brain-farts.

Re:Spammers paradise? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071679)

But what about Windows? isn't that an OS?

Re:Spammers paradise? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071684)

It qualifies as a brain fart.

My personal perspectives. (3, Interesting)

yess (678141) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071677)

I live in Poland, about 10 hours far from Estonia. Now I know, where to emigrate, when my government finally goes to hell with the rest of the country, or at least tries to legislate something similar to DMCA.

I feel a kind of sad, when I see similar opportunities wasted here in Poland, where Internet access is still a luxury due to TP S.A. - national telecommunication monopoly.

At least once both Estonia and Poland are in the EU emigrating won't be that hard... ;)

Re:My personal perspectives. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071689)

I live in Poland, about 10 hours far from Estonia.

How does it feel to drive my stolen BMW around?

Re:My personal perspectives. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071778)

> I live in Poland, about 10 hours far from Estonia. Now I know, where to emigrate, when my government finally goes to hell with the rest of
> the country, or at least tries to legislate something similar to DMCA.

I live in the U.S.A., about 10 hour flight away from Poland. You mean your government hasn't driven your country to hell yet, and still doesn't have a DMCA-alike? Holy shit!

Okay, let me know when you're emigrating to Estonia dude. I'm moving into your vacated home in Poland!! Um, what are the visa requirements for U.S. citizens?

Re:My personal perspectives. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9072026)

LOL

But you are late, Poland is in EU since May, which means that not only we have a DMCA-alike, but we also pay $1 more (import duty) for a kilo of bananas, which have to be curved exactly according to the norm.

Re:My personal perspectives. (1)

EuropeanSwallow (662253) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071937)

Sorry to sour your milk, but with the upcomming European Constitution, it won't be your government's task to legislate it! It will be a EU decision affecting you, Estonia and everybody else...

Democracy (-1, Troll)

Sarojin (446404) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071699)

Our group [peoplesprimary.com] feels that the proliferation of Internet access in Estonia will allow democracy to flourish there and to their trading partners. Kudos to Estonia and Elbonia!

MOD PARENT DOWN, GOATSE REDIRECT! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071756)

Absolutely revolting!

Estonia this and Estonia that... (4, Interesting)

orlinius (181137) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071770)

It seems that every other day there is a big article or TV show that reveals how advanced Estonia is in every hi-tech domain.
Let's just not forget that Estonia is a really tiny country with a population slightly over 1 million people.
It is very easy to introduce such initiatives on such a small scale.
Most of Paris has free Wi-Fi now offered by the Paris municipality, and this in terms of population is bigger than Estonia. I don't see anyone bragging about it.
The other day they showed on TV how advanced Estonia is. You can pay your parking lot or buy flowers by SMS. Wow, that's really advanced and even if it so, I don't see how practical it can be. Come on, lose 2 minutes to type and SMS instead of paying by cash or credit card....

Re:Estonia this and Estonia that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9072081)

I disagree. I live in Estonia and it is actually very hard to earn money with high-tech systems or even by making web pages. Why? Because our population is only 1.4 mio. We'd like to do much more "sci-fi" thingies.. but there just aren't enough consumers to cover the expenses.

If someone asked me, if it is easier to implement new technologies in Estonia or some bigger country... I would definetely say "the bigger the better".

Re:Estonia this and Estonia that... (4, Insightful)

Peter Cooper (660482) | more than 9 years ago | (#9072082)

You can pay your parking lot or buy flowers by SMS. Wow, that's really advanced and even if it so, I don't see how practical it can be. Come on, lose 2 minutes to type and SMS instead of paying by cash or credit card....

I would personally find that VERY useful.

For a start, carrying change is cumbersome, most parking machines don't accept notes, and you can never be 100% sure if you have the right amount of change on you (or in the right denominations). Once I went to my favourite parking lot and found the price had gone to 5 from 4. I had 4 of change on me. So I went back to my car (a few minutes' walk in this particular lot) and scrambled around and found a pile of change which got me to the 5. Then I went back to the machine and put in it.. but after 20 coins it wouldn't let me put in any more!! This forced me to find a shop, buy something I didn't even want, just so I could get some change (how else do you get change? change machines are not common in the UK)

And credit card? Gee, the only parking that takes credit cards is when you book it, or if you use some fancy expensive place downtown. For general parking, forget it. You need your change, or else.. and in a society where otherwise you never need to carry notes or change, it's ridiculous you still need it to park.

Estonia has got it right.

Re:Estonia this and Estonia that... (1)

mvendelin (768872) | more than 9 years ago | (#9072105)

At least paying for parking is very practical. You don't need to
decide in forehand for how long do you park, for example. Usually, you
have this SMS saved in the phone and you send it when you are on the
way from you car already. If you have Nokia, you can instead of SMS browse a
special menu and park using it (at least if you are Radiolinja GSM
client). When you come back to your car, you call a special
number to finish the parking. Simple and very convenient! I am really
missing the possibility for parking by SMS in France (as well as our
advanced online banking).

Re:Estonia this and Estonia that... (1)

horza (87255) | more than 9 years ago | (#9072144)

The other day they showed on TV how advanced Estonia is. You can pay your parking lot or buy flowers by SMS. Wow, that's really advanced and even if it so, I don't see how practical it can be. Come on, lose 2 minutes to type and SMS instead of paying by cash or credit card....

Would you rather lose those minutes whilst walking to where you want to go, or would you rather lose those minutes stuck in a queue?

Phillip.

Re:Estonia this and Estonia that... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9072175)

estonia is a COUNTRY, paris is one single f@#$%^& city in the big and powerful france. considering the scales its quite mentionable for one little country to push on the hi tech front like that. but all that bragging in the media about how 1337 we are actually makes me feel ashamed. think im gonna move to australia.

but sms parking and also sms bus tickets are pretty neat gimmicks.

Estonian opposition parties oppose this (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071774)

Many consider the idea to be a nuisance at best, dangerous at worst. [hopto.org]
One was even reported as saying "wireless communication is the tool of Lucifer"

MOD DOWN, LAST MEASURE LINK! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071789)

Think you're so smart, troll?

C:\>kill -f firefox
process firefox.exe (1956) - 'Our lawyer has informed us that we need a warning. So, if you are under the age of 18 or find this offensive, please leave imme' killed

MOD PARENT DOWN! MOD GRANDPARENT UP! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071797)

Informative link, parent is firefucks user and therefore cannot be trusted.

Old Map (1)

ChronoWiz (709439) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071875)

I can't find Estonia on my Cold War era globe.

In Soviet Russia, free wireless internet is accessible by you!

An over-reaction to freedom from tyranny? (2, Interesting)

tiger99 (725715) | more than 9 years ago | (#9072076)

This seems to me to be a little bit excessive, unnecessary, and making it a human rights issue seems to me to be an excessive but understandable reaction to having emerged from the horrific opression of communism.

In the UK we do not have full cellphone coverage, the fact that there are 5 competing operators makes it even less economically viable to equip remote or mountainous areas where, perversely, they are more likely to be needed in cases of genuine emergency. Having full internet coverage by any means, except maybe by hovering airships, which is being seriously considered to cover rural areas, is simply impossible. Maybe Estonia has suddenly become very rich, if so, well and good, but I think in most countries there would be more pressing needs. Nonetheless technically it is quite an achievement to have got so far, and I am impressed.

So why can't my cable company, NTL, give me broadband? I live in London, the largest city in the UK, if not Europe. It really makes me sick, maybe I should move to Estonia, or make it a human rights issue when we are freed from the horrific oppression of Blairism.

Estonia, most promising of new ex-USSR EU states? (3, Interesting)

Peter Cooper (660482) | more than 9 years ago | (#9072113)

Okay, Poland has the people and the position, but I'd say Estonia is the most promising of the new ex-Soviet EU states.

Ten years ago, as I read on the BBC, only 15% of homes in the country had a regular phone! Now they have wireless internet, the majority of people have cellphones, and quite a few people speak English. The government has radically pushed away from Soviet norms in implementing low business taxes, and is fostering a great environment for new businesses. And from what I've learned through the CIA Factbook and the BBC, Estonia has a very low crime rate and chicks who look like this. [miqrogroove.com] Per capita income is also still low, so employees would be cheap. The country also looks pretty.

The downsides? It's darn cold in Winter, and it's not cheap to fly to (yet).

Still, it looks like Estonia is a promising little nation who understands the concepts of the free market and capitalism in generating better living conditions.. and if I had to choose one of the new EU states to live in.. well, Estonia looks the most promising for those in business.

Rights (0)

kwilliams (617679) | more than 9 years ago | (#9072172)

Who needs Life, Liberty, and Property when you can have the Internet? James Madison really missed the boat on that one.
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