Beijing officials say free Wi-Fi service will be safe

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More and more cities are trying to find ways to get the internet to everyone, for free.  There have been rumors for some time that Google wanted to blanket the entire United States with broadband Wi-Fi and offer the service for free.  Saying you want to do this and getting it down is certainly two different things.  One city, not in the United States has gotten it done and wants its residents to know that it will be free and safe to use at anytime.  That city is Beijing.  Once of the most populated places in the entire world, is going to launch free Wi-Fi and that has some residents wondering about how safe it will be to use.

Large companies have databases full of the personal information about customers and a couple times per year we have to read about how one of those databases was compromised and your personal information “could be out there somewhere”.  The residents of Beijing have reason to worry, but today, city officials made it clear that the service will be safe to use.  By the end of November, subscribers to China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom will be able to enjoy free 2Mbps public wideband internet service call “My Beijing”.  The service will be rolled out at Xidan, Wangfujing, the Olympic Center, and three train stations, Yanasha, Financial Street and Zhongguancun.  The services will be free to use for the first three years of the project, officials said.

One of the problems that residents are seeing even before launch is that in order to gain an access password you must release your cell phone number and that is to authenticate the user as a mobile subscriber to one of the three major mobile carriers in China.  One resident said that he used his cell phone number in a recent transaction and has been swamped with spam ever since that day.  Officials claim that the cell phone number will only be used for user authentication and not sold to marketing companies or used to sell the customer products in any way.

As part of the project there will be over 90,000 WLAN networks connecting about 60 percent of the capital city in the next five years and the overall goal is to see about 480,000 WLAN access points and 6,000 hotspots throughout the country.

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