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Ko Wen-je mulling an end to free Wi-Fi

Ko Wen-je mulling an end to free Wi-Fi

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je revealed Wednesday morning that he is evaluating the cost and effectiveness of continuing free wireless Internet service in the city. Ko explained that if you look at the speed of transmission involved in a Wi-Fi net, providing citywide Wi-Fi coverage does not make a lot of sense. Ko said his impression is that if 4G Internet coverage can be successfully rolled out it would yield much better results than what can be achieved with free Wi-Fi coverage of the city. He emphasized that the idea is still under discussion and no decisions have been made on the relative values of Wi-Fi versus 4G.

Ko noted that Tong Zixiang, chairman of the Taipei Computer Association, told him recently that the basic requirements for a civilized city are that it provide "a place to drink water, a toilet and a wireless Internet". Ko added that as far as wireless Internet coverage is concerned, it does not make sense unless you also consider the transmission speeds involved.

Ko dropped in on the Smart City 2015 exhibition Wednesday. He said that he hopes Taipei City Hall will become a smart building sometime soon and serve as a demonstration of what the entire city can be. He stopped by a stall set up by Chunghwa Telecom and asked off-hand whether the company would be interested in developing Taipei City Hall free of charge in exchange having government offices serve as demonstration models for smart buildings. In the end, he walked away with the business card of a Chunghwa Telecom representative.

Ko re-worked one of his campaign phrases from last year to say, "Change in Taipei begins with change in Taipei City Hall.” He noted that the City Hall Building was put up 20 years ago and many advances in science and technology have been made since then. He said converting to a smart building can accomplish many things such as energy savings and environmental protection. He said the municipal government is made up of 80,000 people in scattered locations around the city, and when you talk to telecommunications companies there just might be "some things you can get for free." He added that there are a lot of things he hopes to do and the city is currently exploring ways the city can work with various telecommunications companies, and there could be many opportunities for cooperation in the future.

Updated : 2021-09-20 00:50 GMT+08:00