Hong Kong claims top rank in Wi-fi coverage

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 October, 2007, 12:00am

Hong Kong is the world's leading city in serving Wi-fi to laptop users, with more than 5,000 access sites or hotspots in 3,000 places providing commercial services, according to government data released last week.

The Office of the Telecommunications Authority said all the hotspots - sites where laptop users could gain wireless internet access - were installed by private companies rather than through public funding.

'The coverage of Wi-fi in Hong Kong proves that our market-driven policy is successful,' the telecommunications regulator said.

There are 5,228 hotspots in 3,055 locations in Hong Kong, operated by 24 Wi-fi service providers, according to the government. Ofta plans to announce updated hotspot data on a regular basis.

The government data puts Hong Kong ahead of Paris, which has 3,043 hotspots, according to Jiwire.com this month, and Taipei with 2,797. Jwire, a US-based mobile broadband advertising network that measures the number of hotspots daily, ranks Hong Kong sixth with about 2,256 hotspots in use.

PCCW, the city's largest fixed-line operator, is the most aggressive player to roll out Wi-fi services in Hong Kong, boosting the number of hotspots to more than 3,000 this year, from 400 previously.

The government plans to invest about HK$250 million to offer free public Wi-fi services in government premises such as libraries and parks in the next two years.

Market sources said the tender results would be announced soon and several fixed-line operators such as PCCW, Hong Kong Broadband Network and Wharf T&T were vying to be awarded the operating contract.