Free wifi everywhere

A number of councils are moving towards providing free wireless internet access and one provider is letting all of its customers share each other’s signals

As other countries outpace Denmark in wireless internet connectivity, a number of councils are working towards improving their wifi infrastructure.

The move is an effort to provide free wireless internet access to residents and tourists alike. 

“Today, we can’t imagine a town without a railway and that’s what people will think about wifi in a few years,” Frederiksberg Council's deputy mayor, Katrine Lester (Socialdemokraterne), told metroxpress newspaper. “We see that tourists have an increasing need for wifi when getting around town, but we give them a poor experience because they are forced to pay monstrous roaming fees.”

READ MORE: Copenhagen mulls free city-wide wifi

The Høje Taastrup Council case
Until now, councils have found it challenging to establish free wifi after the state administration, Statsforvaltningen, rejected an attempt by Høje Taastrup Council in 2009, citing that it distorted competition among telecommunications providers.

But that decision could soon be overruled. According to Horten law firm, up to a third of the nation’s councils are looking into the possibility of establishing free wifi, leading the firm to take the case back to Statsforvaltningen.

“You can argue that the existing practice is obsolete. The digital society has developed to a point where the authorities increasingly expect that their citizens communicate on the net, so one could argue that the councils need to provide the digital infrastructure required,” Line Markert, an attorney with Horten, told metroxpress.

YouSee making a move
One of the nation’s leading internet and TV providers, YouSee, is doing its part to raise the IT infrastructure standards in Denmark.

In just a few months, YouSee customers will gain internet access throughout the nation when the company makes it possible to connect the wifi networks of all its customers.

After a successful trial in Varde, YouSee will expand the project nation-wide and allow customers to use free wifi as long as the user’s device is located within reach of the shared network.

“The next place we’ll unveil the wifi hotspot solution will be in Skanderborg on October 15,” Eva Tetsche, the department head at YouSee, told Jyllands-Posten newspaper. “We expect that the solution will be available to all our broadband customers in Denmark by April 2014.”

A bid to steady the IT ship
The news comes after the international think-tank World Economic Forum released its ‘The Global Information Technology Report 2013’, in April and found that Denmark continues to drop in rankings of the top IT nations in the world.

Denmark fell four places to eighth place, surpassed by its Scandinavian neighbours Finland, Sweden and Norway. Denmark led the list until 2010, when it was overtaken by Sweden, which was then later surpassed by current leaders, Finland.

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