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Government - Written by on Friday, July 23, 2010 13:37 - 6 Comments

Thomas Gegenhuber
Ride and surf

A world without the web is getting unimaginable. It is our access to the world. Already, we hate to be unplugged, like when we’re commuting on public transport–time we could use to read the news, update our twitter status and check the e-mails. While many people have mobile data on their cell phones, it’s often slow, so why not make busses internet hotspots? In addition to simply being useful, doing so would make public transportation more attractive. In a move to make wireless access ubiquitous, some cities in Ohio have done just this, and are making wireless available en-route on city busses.

The list of best-practice examples is long. It’s a good thing that some public transport providers react to that need. But my point is: we live in the year 2010, free accessible WiFi on public transportation and on public squares should be an expected standard. It is the job of local governments in cooperation with the transport authorities to ensure that.

In my home city of Linz in Austria—population of approximately 180,000—the local government is convinced that it is their responsibility to invest in public infrastructure that advances the free access to WiFi. The city provides the citizens with free WiFi on 120 hotspots in the public sphere. Recently, city councilor Christian Forsterleitner put forward a motion that the public transport authority of Linz should provide free accessible WiFi on the streetcars and in the most frequently used bus shelters. The public transport authority reacted positively.

This progressive move stands in stark contrast to what Toronto—my current city of residence—is doing: Toronto is getting new Street Cars from Bombardier in 2012. Linz has similar light rail and low floor streetcars since 2001. I think the TTC in Toronto should consider providing free WiFi for the new streetcars. A world metropolis must be able to offer the same service as a small city in Austria.


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Gov 2.0 Radio Hot Links – July 25, 2010 « #2010Left
Jul 24, 2010 23:14

[...] PTI: Virtual Summit on Apps for Local GovernmentGood: Vote on your favorite infographic on childhood obesityThomas Gegenhuber: Ride and surf [...]

Gov 2.0 Radio Hot Links – July 25, 2010 « Adriel Hampton: Wired to Share
Jul 24, 2010 23:15

[...] Summit on Apps for Local GovernmentGood: Vote on your favorite infographic on childhood obesityThomas Gegenhuber: Ride and surf Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Congress Camp on Gov 2.0 RadioPeople-Focused [...]

Gov 2.0 Radio Hot Links – July 25, 2010 | Gov 2.0 Radio
Jul 24, 2010 23:38

[...] PTI: Virtual Summit on Apps for Local Government Good: Vote on your favorite infographic on childhood obesity Thomas Gegenhuber: Ride and surf [...]

Jul 26, 2010 17:31

We share the same views on this topic. I completely agree. I find it unbelievable that a transportation system which wants to at appear more advanced, tactful, modern, or savvy hasn’t come to the conclusion that providing free wifi is in their best interests. Oh wait, it’s because they are old and think computers will steal union jobs..and encourage efficiency..

I would love to use the ttc with wifi personally. I hate talking on the phone to coordinate a social meeting with friends on a busy streetcar. Conversing about opinions that I have to friends and strangers alike while I travel is very unappealing to me. I find it’s very disruptive to others, and I hate hearing other people make personal plans on the phone next to me. Simply annoying.

I think Toronto needs to partner with some huge ISP and get ‘er done, add some wifi to streetcars first. Rogers and TTC sounds like a match made in hell, but it could work financially, and branding isn’ that far off either (ooh snap).

Jul 27, 2010 7:47

I don’t think that we can live with out internet,before some year everyone need food,house and cloth for living.but till one more thing is need Internet.I don’t think that we can imagine our would with out internet.i like your thoughts about Internet its very nice.i appreciated your work.

Thomas Gegenhuber
Jul 27, 2010 22:58

@evan: Yes, I hope that the TTC get this job done. If they really want to, they will find a way.
@walter: Investing in technology infrastructure and Social Policy is no contradiction. A good example for this is Linz, the city government also deeply cares about social issues.

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