The number of urban WiFi hotspots in Berlin quadrupled in 2020 despite the corona pandemic – although the expansion did not go as planned. The reason for the growth to meanwhile 8000 access points is the connection of the municipal network “Free Wifi Berlin” with the university network “eduroam”, as State Secretary for Media Christian Gaebler told the German Press Agency.
As a result, 6,000 hotspots, which were previously reserved for students and staff from eight universities, can now be used anonymously by anyone for surfing free of charge. At the same time, students can also access their teaching materials via “Free Wifi Berlin” – they no longer have to be near their university.
“After a pilot phase, the plan is to bring the project into regular operation in February,” said Gaebler. At the same time, the Senate wants to push ahead with the expansion of the municipal network of WiFi hotspots in the new year, which had to be postponed in 2020 due to Corona. The goal is to create in the best case 2000, but at least 1000 more access points, the first in the course of this year.
“Highly frequented locations in Berlin are to be equipped,” explained Gaebler. “ The Mauerpark, the Spreepark, the Botanical Garden, the space to be redesigned around the Neptune Fountain are places where free WiFi would certainly be used extensively.”
The entire Berlin area should benefit from the program.
The state program “Free Wifi Berlin” started in 2016. If you add the offers from several partners of the initiative – they are the BVG transport company, the Berlin-Brandenburg media authority, the Protestant regional church and the “Freifunker” – there are currently 10,000 free hotspots available.
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The Senate Chancellery’s WiFi network has been used 223 million times since April 2018 – that shows how great the need for free WiFi is. In view of the pandemic, the importance of digitization has increased significantly again. “
The President of the University of Applied Sciences for Technology and Economics (HTW), Carsten Busch, described the linking of the communal and student WiFi networks as an important milestone. “Sometimes everyone actually wins when strong partners team up.” (dpa)
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