Labour calls for Wi-Fi zone in Dublin city centre

20 Nov 2006

Labour Spokesperson on Communications Tommy Broughan TD has called for Dublin city centre to be made into a public access wireless broadband zone.

Broughan said: “Earlier this year I called on the Government and Dublin City Council to transform the city centre into a broadband Wi-Fi zone where anyone with a mobile phone or laptop computer could access the internet from any point within the zone.

“Such a scheme is already in place in both Philadelphia and San Francisco, where it is possible to log on to the internet from the comfort of a park bench in Union Square. I am proposing that as a first step areas around St Stephen’s Green should become a wireless zone for Dubliners.”

Broughan claimed that in a conversation with the former Dublin City Manager John Fitzgerald he was told that public access wireless programmes were more appropriate in the US because of the higher wireless utilisation levels and the more mature broadband services available.

Broughan said because the city centre is now practically 100pc broadband enabled, there is no reason not to proceed with the Wi-Fi ‘hotspot’.

“I have been informed by the new Dublin City Manger that he does intend to proceed with a citywide hotspot and I would appeal to the City Council that money is provided in the next annual Budget,” he said.

“An ICT-enabled city will be a hallmark of urban areas as the 21st century progresses. It is deplorable, but unfortunately not surprising, that there have been no real initiatives by Dublin City Council to ensure that Dublin leads the way in providing widespread accessible and affordable internet access. The development of a public access Wi-Fi zone in St Stephen’s Green would be a means to redress the balance,” he added.

By Niall Byrne