StreetNet: Brussels Provides Free WiFi At Internet Kiosks

The Brussels city government established five open-air Internet kiosks that provide WiFi-enabled web surfing for all citizens and visitors. The weatherproof kiosks have a touchscreen for those without a laptop or PDA; passers-by can go online to send email, check the timetables of public transportation services and look at maps of the city (and even print them). The kiosks also have a multimedia component: anyone can walk up to a kiosk and send a picture or short video of themselves via email.

(From Brussels opens free street internet)

Twenty of the innovative free street Internet access kiosks are planned at locations across the Brussels region by the end of this month. Each location is carefully chosen; many have "pavement cafes" within the 300 meter radius of the WiFi antennas installed on each kiosk, as well as lots of tourist foot traffic.

Jacques Simonet compared Internet access to the availability of electricity and gas in an earlier time. At the inauguration of the first StreetNet kiosk, he stated "Internet is a basic service that everybody should have access to."

In his 1975 novel The Shockwave Rider , John Brunner referred to "public veephones" that offered full access to the national datanet. This is the first reference to a publicly supported, walk-up WiFi Internet access point that I'm aware of.

Read Brussels opens free street internet and Cityspace Launches i+ Network in Brussels.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/18/2004)

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