Hanoi to roll out free, city-wide wi-fi

By Vo Hai   August 5, 2016 | 12:01 am PT
Hanoi to roll out free, city-wide wi-fi
Young people surfing the Internet at a cafe in Vietnam. Photo by Reuters
The capital looks to follow in the footsteps of Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang.

Hanoi is all set to install free public wi-fi hot spots in many outdoor spaces and street corners city-wide in a bid to build a smart city transport system, the city's mayor has said.

The city expects the free wi-fi internet access will make it easier for people in Hanoi to navigate around the heavily congested city, Nguyen Duc Chung, the chairman of the Hanoi's People's Committee, said at a meeting on Thursday.

Netizens, however, have expressed skepticism, saying they doubt its feasibility.

“It will be like in Ho Chi Minh City," a VnExpress reader wrote. "Wi-fi is available, but it takes a whole day to load just one page of a newspaper.”

Hanoi first mooted the idea in 2010, when the city celebrated its 1000th birthday. Back then authorities were considering installing free wi-fi hot spots around Hoan Kiem Lake at the heart of the city, but the proposal was rejected.

In the latest attempt, the city’s largest bus operator Transerco has announced it will install 200 free wi-fi transmitters on its buses.

The country’s southern business hub Ho Chi Minh City said last month that it was about to launch a free wi-fi network as it takes a step closer towards a municipal e-government system.

Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are not the only cities to provide free wi-fi coverage. Tourism hubs including Hoi An, Hue and Da Nang in the central region and Hai Phong and Ha Long in the north have been wireless since 2012.

Nearly 49 million people, more than half of Vietnam's population of 90 million, are online as of June 30, 2016, according to statistics compiled by Internet World Stats.

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