Milan expands free wifi network

Milan’s city network of free wifi internet access has already reached 50,000 users, prompting a plan to increase the number of hot-spots around the city from some 500 to almost a thousand by the summer, reports La Repubblica daily.

Welcoming a suggestion by users, signs are now being put up locally to advertise a nearby hot-spot. For web surfers who can’t wait for the signs to go up in their neighbourhood, the city’s Open Wifi Milano website has a map showing hot-spots already in operation as well as those about to go into service, and simple instructions on how to use the network.

Once you have registered your mobile device and received your password, you can browse official, institutional sites free with no time or data limit.  Surfing other sites around the web – for example to read your email or favourite newspaper – is limited to 300MB a day.  After reaching this limit, you will have just one more hour of high-speed connection. The rate then drops to 192Kb/s until midnight, when the next day’s free quota becomes available.

If your mobile device uses an Italian SIM card you can register with the city network simply by connecting to an “openwifimilano” channel and submitting a request; your password will be sent to you by SMS.  If you are using a foreign-issue SIM, you will need to go personally to one of the five ATM Points to show an ID and pick up your password.  The ATM Points are in the metro stations of Duomo and Loreto (M1),  Cadorna, Centrale, Romolo and Garibaldi (M2).

Non-profit volunteer organisation GreenGeek has also set up a network of free wifi hot-spots (not only in Milan) and is encouraging hotels, restaurants, coffee shops and other activites to join in their initiative.  Their site, too, carries a map of hot-spots available free for one hour a day.

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