Guangdong's main cities to go Wi-fi by 2010
Wireless internet services will be available in Guangdong's main urban centres by 2010 in an effort to make the Pearl River Delta more competitive.
The Guangdong Information Industry Department said this week that it would establish wireless networks in Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Dongguan and Foshan , the Nanfang Daily reported.
According to provincial plans, Guangzhou will be the first of the four cities to get the service.
A department official said communications infrastructure would be upgraded, and the wireless connectivity would help the delta become more convenient and attractive to investors and visitors.
She refused to give a specific timetable for the project phases.
'It's expected people will be able to enjoy the service before the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games and the 2011 Shenzhen World University Games,' she said.
If realised, the service will cover most key areas in the delta's cities, including airports, commercial buildings, shopping malls and hotels.
Guangdong has lagged behind other urban centres in the race to instal wireless networks.
Last month, China Telecom announced plans to spend 200 million yuan (HK$227.85 million) on building and upgrading wireless networks in 30 cities nationwide, mainly in the Yangtze River Delta.
Beijing has installed a free but limited wireless network for the Olympic Games, offering access mainly in the city's urban areas.
Shanghai launched Wi-fi services in railway stations last month and will create 3,000 Wi-fi spots citywide by the end of this year, triple the number a year ago.
Guo Wanda , president of the China Development Institute, said wireless networking was a trend in mainland urban development, but was not key to making Guangdong stand out from its competitors.
'It's good to upgrade the area's information infrastructure. But a wireless service is just a kind of short-term advantage, which other areas could easily copy,' he said. 'Wireless networks attract people because they're convenient and unlimited.
'Compared with hardware, software, such as government services and management, is more necessary, crucial and difficult to realise.'