Free Wi-Fi service to cover Ho Chi Minh City
Tourists and locals can access free Wi-Fi service on their smartphones at the Nguyen Hue walking street in Ho Chi Minh City.
Tran Vinh Tuyen, vice-chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, confirmed to (Youth) newspaper on Wednesday afternoon that he was working with the Singaporean firm to prepare a detailed report on the proposition.
Tuyen expressed his support for the proposal, adding that particular steps to execute the plan should be carefully calculated.
Free Wi-Fi accessibility will not only create an impression on local tourism but also form the foundation for establishing an effective digital government, one of the main goals of the municipal administration, the vice-chairman elaborated.
“To build an e-government requires digital citizens. Free access to Wi-Fi across the metropolis is a must,” he continued.
During an interview with , Van Thi Banh Tuyet, director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism, stated that the idea was a good way to boost local tourism.
Domestic and international travelers would have easy access to online information that will help promote other tourist services in the city, Tuyet said.
The official has requested that her subordinates hold a meeting with the People’s Committee, Department of Information and Communications, and Department of Planning and Investment in order to develop fundraising plans for the project and carry out preparations for the plan to be implemented as quickly as possible.
Meanwhile, a telecommunications expert in Ho Chi Minh City asserted that it would not be a simple task to provide free universal Wi-Fi coverage in a metropolis of nearly 10 million people.
While a similar project, but on a much smaller scale, has been successful on Nguyen Hue Pedestrian Street and the Ho Chi Minh City Book Street, the operating cost has been very high, according to the specialist.
Several other issues related to compromising the interests of local network operators and ensuring the security of information must also be taken into account before the project can be launched.
It is advisable that authorities thoroughly study all conditions set by the Singaporean firm before accepting the deal, the expert concluded.
According to a source, the foreign company has talked to the appropriate Vietnamese agencies to ensure the security and management of digital information.
. Photo: Tuoi Tre
A project of free Wi-Fi coverage was piloted in Da Nang City's center between 2011 and 2013 with total expenses recorded at US$3 million, before being officially launched in 2014.
The complimentary Internet service was accessed 20,000 times on a daily basis with high speed connection and good quality.
In the nearby tourist city of Hoi An, best known for its well-preserved namesake ancient town, local residents and visitors have had access to free Wi-Fi since March 2012.
According to the local bureau of information and communications, the project received a VND25 billion ($1.1 million) investment with 350 hotspots installed across the city.
After one year of successfully piloting free Wi-Fi service across the northern city of Ha Long, known for its Ha Long Bay, Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications (VNPT) Group, operator of the project, began charging its customers, resulting in several shortcomings.
Local citizens responded to the policy change by noting that they preferred using the services of local restaurants or their 3G connection.
Dinh Sy Nguyen, deputy director of the local Department of Information and Communications, said authorities were seeking new investors, adding that they could earn profit from commercial ads instead of charging users.