HK touted as Wi-fi wonderland

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 October, 2007, 12:00am

Hong Kong has become a world leader in providing public wireless broadband service, the government said yesterday.

The Office of the Telecommunications Authority said 5,228 Wi-fi hotspots had been installed at 3,055 locations through the city, making it an international leader in providing wireless broadband.

According to the Ofta website, five fixed-line operators have been given permission to run public wireless broadband services, and 24 licences have been given to other companies.

'Unlike other cities, where the public Wi-fi service involves either public funding or co-ordination by governments, Hong Kong's service is entirely funded by the commercial sector,' Ofta said.

In his budget speech earlier this year, then Financial Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen announced a plan to spend about HK$210 million to offer Wi-fi in all government buildings and facilities.

Operators criticised the plan as direct competition with telecoms operators, and the government said later it would only buy services from operators to provide free access on government premises.

Also, Ofta said a study from July to September found radio-frequency radiation emitted by Wi-fi hotspots was far below international limits.