The word on the street is that Hangzhou is the first city in China to have free city-wide wifi coverage (much to the chagrin of Shanghai residents), but is it true?
One of the top posts on Weibo today heralds the announcement:
Hangzhou implements citywide free wifi! Inside a taxi, use your laptop to go online with no hassle! Wherever there is sunshine in Hangzhou there is wifi? Everyone go check!
In the comments, Shanghai residents lamented that “Shanghai’s backyard” has become more advanced, and wondered when Shanghai would get its free public wifi. However, Shanghaiers don’t have to much to worry about, as the wifi is reportedly not only slow, unavailable in many locations, but also limited to a government intranet.
From Hangzhou’s English website:
VISITORS and residents in Hangzhou can now enjoy Wi-Fi coverage all over the city.
Just connect to Air-WASU, the Wi-Fi free service, with your mobile phone or laptop to gain access to local news and information, which are in Chinese only.
For mobile phone users, the service is totally free of charge while, for laptop users it’s necessary to click on advertisements in order to get additional free surfing time.
Right now the signals cover outdoor and scenic spots in the city. Signals are not available indoors, including office and residential buildings, for now.
So, that’s that. If you’re still somehow tantalized by the sheer idea of free citywide wifi, then I suppose we can’t stop you from firing up your laptop and checking out the latest government dronings. Or maybe even the weather reports!
Now, were we really expecting free, unregulated internet access the likes of which are barely even tolerated at coffeeshops? Nah, but you can’t blame us (and everyone else) for dreaming.