Soon, a wireless Berlin city?

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photo: N. Ramakrishnan
photo: N. Ramakrishnan

Network providers and other free-service initiatives are providing some fresh air to a long-mulled plan for Berlin that would provide free Wi-Fi service throughout the city...

or at least in its key tourist hotspots.

That would mean tourists armed with a mobile phone or tablet computer could snap a souvenir shot in front of the city’s iconic Brandenburg Gate and pop it straight onto Facebook, and check the city’s online map without first finding - and paying for the use of - an internet cafe.

There are already some free services in the city, but coverage is spotty.

So the city-state’s legislature is back at work on the problem, with plans to create more Wi-Fi zones in the coming year. The catch is that the cash-strapped German capital is relying on private companies for help.

But, however ambitious the plans get, there is never likely to be a completely comprehensive system in the city: Wi-Fi transmitters broadcast too weak a signal to get through the thicker walls of the city’s older buildings. But the free internet movement has managed to set up a free system broadcasting from the roof of Berlin’s main city hall. Thanks to directional antennas, the signal extends for 10 kilometres, connecting across the roofs of Berlin with other networks.DPA



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