Should all destinations follow Tel Aviv’s digital first?

Credit Kfir Sivan Tel Aviv WiFi

I don’t know about you but I’m rather attached to my mobile phone, and if you ever need to contact me, you’re almost always sure to reach me straight away.

My phone isn’t just my main form of contact, it’s also my window to the world, via the Internet. I have a thirst for information… and when I want to find something out, I need to know now!

I didn’t really realise how dependent I was on my phone until a recent flight delay of more than 24 hours. It would have been fine if I’d been in my own country, but on a roaming contract, I didn’t dare connect for too long.

Some airports are great for free Wi-Fi, but most offer only a short time, and once you’ve used that up, you’ve either got to pay or do without.

It’s a shame not everywhere is as forward thinking as Tel Aviv.

Eighteen months ago, Tel Aviv launched a free Wi-Fi system offering 180 free hot spots, covering 3.7 million square metres – effectively encompassing the entire city. In fact, you can connect wherever you are, in the parks, in bars and coffee shops, even on the beach!

According to data just released, 85% of logins in 2014 were made with a smart phone and more than 50% of connections were made by tourists.

298,272 unique users entered the network in 2014 with a total of 579,917 entrances overall.

The Wi-Fi initiative is part of a number of projects lead by Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality and is one of the reasons for Tel Aviv’s coveted international recognition as the ‘World’s Smartest City’ at the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona last November.

Hila Oren, CEO of Tel Aviv Global, said, “Today, access to free Wi-Fi is a basic service – just like it’s a City’s job to connect people to water and electricity – it is also our job to connect people to the web- free Wi-Fi is a new aspect of city-making. It’s only fitting that Tel Aviv, with its more than 1,000 startups – the largest concentration of innovation per capita on the globe – leads the world in this field as well.”

Tel Aviv has proved that free Wi-Fi works and the uptake figures show there’s a demand, so why can’t all destinations, resorts, airports and hotels offer free Wi-Fi?

What do you think?

Photo Credit Kfir Sivan Tel Aviv WiFi

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