Home > 2.0, 2.0 or Something, Biz wanderings, eWorld, lifestyle, Society, technology and us.. > Wi Fi in the Park, and Milan goes on air..

Wi Fi in the Park, and Milan goes on air..

You all know that I am not staggeringly in love with Milan, which I believe is somewhat living and pretending way above its current status of second-tier European city, however, “render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s” and there we are.. there is, for the not-in-the-know, a lovely park in the middle of the city, Parco Sempione, which should actually be considered as the local version of NY Central Park or London’s Hyde Park (sort of..), and it is packed full with the usual fauna of joggers, mums with going-to-be-famous babies, some execs and other city parks’ paraphernalia. The whole community will enjoy the beauty of Wi Fi connection across the park!! Well, most of the park…

There is a “strategically positioned” antenna over the Torre Branca, sort of in the middle of the park, and some smaller antennas in four other location. The tricky part is the access, which is actually going via a “card” that the WiFi surfer should collect in dedicated “outlets” nearby the antennas (as the Corriere della Sera points out), and the card will guarantee access for three hours to be spent throughout the day. The card is free, seemingly for now…. Ah, forgot, to get the card you have to leave your full name, no nicknames allowed 🙂 , and an identity document number.

Now, that is particularly ludicrous, even for an over-rated city like Milan. Could you actually think about how to complicate something that should be “free” in the first place a tad more???? Why do I have to give out all those info??? To protect who from what?? Do come along….

The nice thing is that the local “assessore” (someone in charge something, at municipality level) for the urban layout stated “the parks are our top priority” when considering the Wi Fi implementation, and the very chap claims “so that we will allure a larger number of people to go about the park to study and work” as if I rather be stuck in the office if I had not my boss checking for my whereabouts.. rubbish, utter rubbish and sounds very much like “parrot talking”…

And yet the entire plan, which entails the coverage of the urban territory by 2009, via more than 4,000 access points, is a nice step forward to the fuellest coverage to be available by 2015 for the “Expo” to be held in Milan. It is interesting, it is a nice way of pushing forward a city that may have lots to offer to residents and tourists alike, but the feeling is, again, that Milan is playing like it were a much larger and much more important city. And it is playing way too bad!!!

It has already been mentioned a “feasibility study” to be prepared in collaboration with the local Polytechnic, which I trust would lead to proving the project will have massive returns for the parties involved.. when, not too long ago, the city of San Francisco (!!!!) had some trouble justifying its project of Wi Fi cabling… SF, at the very heart of the tech evolution!!!

Guess if that rings any bell ….

In the meanwhile, it has already been stated that the wireless coverage of the city will not be free for surfers, and furthermore there will be a public tender to award the project… that would allow an immediate cash back into some pockets, with very little creative effort.. so, nevermind people would eventually pay for some contents, nevermind the fact that the municipality could use the widespread capability of being in touch with a range of potential “customers” via laptop or, increasingly, mobile devices to push for entertainment offers (info, tickets, discounts, coupons…) that may create a flow of activity and opportunities for a plethora of commercial actors (which would pay, say, for advertising… isn’t that the model of all the top flying Web companies today???)… and you could go a long way along these lines… why on Earth hindering the overall uptake of such a nice opportunity just to make money the easy (potentially) way??? That’s silly… (for the project itself, not for the pockets that may benefit from sheer stupidity..)

So, the overall idea of “virtual streets” in Milan along the old, real ones comes to a price.. for the users to pay… guess most of the people will keep on browsing the nice cafes and shops in the Triangolo della Moda and will be oblivious of Wi Fi.. apart from the typical Milanese posers, but that is another story..

PS By the way, if the municipality wanted to measure the citizens’ satisfaction for such a service, first should have not bother everyone with that data collection via crucis, and secondly, should have potentially launched the project not at the very doorstep of the autumn rainy season and winter cold… talking about stupidity…

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  1. October 10, 2007 at 19:50 34

    Though, one should bear in mind that civic projects are very much out of style in the US – even that undertaking was handed off to Earthlink, who decided the profits wouldn’t be great enough. The positive side, though, is that the City offers a wealth of open WiFi anyway, courtesy of neighborly residents, happy to share a bit of bandwidth for digital wanderers. ^_^

    (As opposed to the few British locations I’ve tried, where virtually everything’s under WEP or WPA2, and there’ve even been prosecutions for “stealing” WiFi if you happen to park somewhere and hop onto someone’s connection. Not very public-spirited)

  2. October 11, 2007 at 08:33 53

    Agreed! My point was about the “ease of use” and misplacement (bad timing) of an initiative that, per se, is highly commendable. Clearly, the more the better, but heck, why wasting such an effort with poor execution???
    I fear that all the feedback and information out of this trial may be analytically useless, not at all a proxy for the acceptance / usage of such a feature…
    However, we may have to wait and see…
    thks for joining the discussion!!!!

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