Ever been having an amazing time while traveling in a foreign country when you needed to check something online or simply wanted to share an awesome instance with the world only to be thwarted by no access to the internet or the fear of paying exorbitant roaming rates keeping you from clicking happily? If only more destinations could be like Tel Aviv – at least with respect to the WiFi!
Tel Aviv’s free WiFi system, launched by the city a year and a half ago, includes 180 free hot spots covering nearly four million square meters and encompassing the entire city with its famous beaches, streets, coffee shops, bars, parks, and startup hubs are all covered by the free WiFi zones.
The citywide spread of free online access has proved especially popular with visitors to Tel Aviv. According to the latest data from 2014, more than 50% of entrances were made by tourists visiting Tel Aviv, with 85% of entrances made using smart phones. 298,272 unique users entered the network in 2014 with a total of 579,917 entrances overall. The data shows that only 36% of entrances were made in Hebrew with English being by far the most popular language at 41%, Russian 4% and French 2.5%.
The most popular areas for WiFi users were in the center of the city, its markets and its beaches.
Say CEO of Tel Aviv Global, Hila Oren:
“Today, access to free WiFi is a basic service, just like it’s a city’s job to connect people to water and electricity – it is also our job to connect people to the web – free WiFi is a new aspect of city-making. It’s only fitting that Tel Aviv, with its more than 1,000 startups – the largest concentration of innovation per capita on the globe – leads the world in this field as well.”
The WiFi initiative is part of a number of projects lead by Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality and is one of the reasons for Tel Aviv’s recent recognition as the “World’s Smartest City” at the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona this past November. Other projects include the Digi-Tel Residents Card, which facilitates direct “smart” communication between the Municipality and the residents of the city.