BBC reports on Venice’s new wifi network.
The Italian city of Venice has launched what is believed to be the most extensive, wireless internet system anywhere in Europe.
Ten thousand kilometres of cables have been laid, establishing wi-fi hotspots just about everywhere in the city.
So now when in Venice you will be able to use your laptop, UMPC, micro-laptop, wifi phone, iPhone, even an iPod touch to connect to the internet over wifi.
Here in the UK we have Norwich however not much else seems to be happening with city wide wireless networks. Gloucester doesn’t have one, neither does Bristol; my two big local towns. Even finding free wifi is problematic with most wifi hotspots are charging, sometimes silly amounts of money.
If we are serious about personalisation of learning, mobile learning and enhancing e-learning, we need to allow our learners to be able to communicate, collaborate and reflect anywhere, anytime and at a pace to suit the learner. This more often then not, means that the learner needs to be connected. If they are using the VLE, Web 2.0 tools such as Twitter, blogs, e-portfolios, or whatever; all these tools generally need an internet connection.
3G which isn’t available on all devices: is too expensive for most, not reliable enough for all, patchy for some and leads to digital exclusion.
City wide wireless networks like in Venice and Norwich would allow learners to access learning when and where they wanted to.
3 thoughts on “Wifi – Venetian Style”
Read about this in a Venice blog I follow (am a little obsessed with beautiful Venice!) – tourists need to obtain an access code 7 days in advance, more info here: http://livingveniceblog.com/2009/06/29/wifi-in-venice/
I don’t know the details, but I understand UoP has been in dialogue with Plymouth council about a metropolitan wide wifi network. No idea if it will happen though. Wonder how the buisness models for providers like TheCloud would cope if ubiquitous free wifi took off in many areas.
a Norwich correspondent writes… in my experience the Norwich free wifi experiment, which has now ended, was a bit hit and miss. As part of our molenet project I remember in the centre of the city trying to hold up an umbrella, find a signal on the htc s710 by waving it about, and getting funny looks from passers by as to what I was up to. We never got them to connect satisfactorily, despite the college having a relay station on the roof!. I absolutely agree with you it has to be ubiquitous and taken for granted before we can really take it forward, we are not there yet but I am sure it will come eventually.