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Free Wi-Fi For the Residents of Venice, Italy 153

Posted by timothy
from the venice-washington-must-continue-to-wait dept.
pmontra writes "The City of Venice, Italy, started to offer free Wi-Fi to residents (Google translation from the Italian source) on July 3 2009. Tourists and other visitors will pay 5 Euros a day for the service starting from September. The hot spots are connected to a ten thousand kilometer (6,250 mile) fiber optic LAN the City started deploying in the '90s. The first day of free Internet access has been celebrated with a digital treasure hunt in the channels of the lagoon city."
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Free Wi-Fi For the Residents of Venice, Italy

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  • I'll have to remember to take my laptop the next time I'm in Venice.
    • by Mr_Plattz (1589701) on Sunday July 05, 2009 @02:15AM (#28584741)

      I'll have to remember to take my laptop the next time I'm in Venice.

      I fail to see how that's a change fro mthe norm. As not only a slashdot member, but also someone who posts first. I assume you take your laptop _everywhere_ you go, not just to Italy.

      • I'm amazed. I've never had a first post. And yes, last time I was in Italy, I did have my laptop. It was a G3 iBook. Those were the days.
      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I fail to see how this affects non-italians.
        It is common knowledge that in italy the internet is translated to italian with a device not unlike the great firewall of china.

        • by GeneralSunTzu (1163223) on Sunday July 05, 2009 @02:27AM (#28584771)
          It is important to non-Italians because: 1. it shows Americans that you can get something for free, much to their utter dismay, given the tenets of their society; 2. proves to non-Italians that local authorities do have a purpose in the general path of the Wheel; 3. provides to nerds and geeks of all over the world a reasonable pretext to visit Venice, one of the magic places on the planet That, for me, is enough.
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by FlyingBishop (1293238)

            Actually, I think there are municipalities that offer free WiFi in an area roughly the size of Venice.

            Venice proper is basically a city that has been turned into a theme park. The article isn't entirely clear, but I don't think this extends to the cities surrounding the lagoon (where most of the work that isn't tourism gets done), which would be very significant.

          • by lxs (131946)

            "Venice, one of the magic places on the planet "

            Well it was until it was overrun by millions of geeks.

          • As someone who has visited Venice, I can tell you it's very commercial and full of tourist traps.

            100 Euros for a 30 min gondola ride, 400 Euros for a Venetian mask and don't even get me started on the Murrano glass.
            I felt like I was in a giant Hallmark store, full of useless over hyped and expensive stuff that only women can find "Oh so romantic".

            • by Nuffsaid (855987) on Sunday July 05, 2009 @06:17AM (#28585463)

              As someone who actually lives in Venice, I can tell you that you are right about the tourist traps, but they are easily avoided if you look around instead of going windows shopping. The made-in-China stuff you can buy is far from romantic, but the sheer structure of the city, with its two entangled mobility networks (one for walkers, one for boats) still amazes me after 10 years living here. Now we have three entangled networks...
              Yesterday I had dinner with an old pal whose job in the last months has been installing the access points and congratulated him. He confirmed the amazing level of interest even among the elder population. Today, lots of people I know are checking signal strength in every hidden corner. Looks like the municipality (and my friend) did a great job, as the coverage seems rather complete.
              BTW, Venice is not a theme park. People still live and work here, enjoying a lifestyle like no other, mainly due to the absense of cars. I won't tell you "come visit us", but I can confirm you don't need a pretext like free connectivity.

              • by oldhack (1037484)
                Hey, is there like separate tourist price and local price there? That is one expensive place.
            • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

              by Lennie (16154)

              And I heared it stinks

              • by Nuffsaid (855987)

                You feel odors with hearing?
                Well, it sometimes do, with low tide and the wrong weather conditions. But it's all natural, organic, all-bio stinking stuff...

            • by AmigaMMC (1103025) on Sunday July 05, 2009 @09:35AM (#28586049)
              >100 Euros for a 30 min gondola ride

              As opposed to $150 for a 10 minutes flight over the Hoover's Dam? You have the option not to do it.

              >400 Euros for a Venetian mask and don't even get me started on the Murrano glass.

              Hand made stuff, man. Not made in China.

              I visited Venice in the off-season, lots of good places to eat for cheap, cheap hotel and few tourists around. Your choice to go when everyone else goes. have you tried Yellowstone in August?

              • by HungWeiLo (250320)
                400 Euros for a Venetian mask and don't even get me started on the Murrano glass.

                Hand made stuff, man. Not made in China.


                And now made handmade by the large Chinese migrant worker community, like many other "Italian" leather goods. It's a pretty big issue over there last time I was there.
          • 1. it shows Americans that you can get something for free, much to their utter dismay, given the tenets of their society;

            Free? How wonderful! So the workers installing and maintaining the equipment will all donate their time! And all the equipment will be given to Venice for free also! And in the future, all the equipment needing replacement due to age or damage will also be free! And the Chinese and other Asian manufacturers will send all this equipment to Venice for free! They must really love Italy!

            It must be heaven there where Economics 101 doesn't apply, everything is free and no one has to pay for anything.

          • by IANAAC (692242)

            1. it shows Americans that you can get something for free, much to their utter dismay, given the tenets of their society

            That's kind of a misleading statement, given the fact that you can find free wifi in pretty much any American city quite easily. I would go so far as to say that it's far easier to find free wifi in an American city than it is in a European city.

            But yeah, free here in the US is usually tied to marketing (free wifi in many restaurants/bars - but you have to eat/drink in the establish

          • by Jeian (409916)

            it shows Americans that you can get something for free, much to their utter dismay, given the tenets of their society

            Actually, one of the biggest "WTF" moments I had when visiting Europe - Italy, actually - was when I had to pay to use the restroom/toilet/latrine/whatever-your-region-calls-it.

          • by The_Quinn (748261)

            1. If Italians are forced to pay for the system with taxes, then it isn't free. Any more than the American postal or government-education systems are "free".

            2. wtf are you talking about

            3. Going to Venice to see government Wi-Fi doesn't exactly sound like a blast to me.

        • by AmigaMMC (1103025)
          It's funny :) But to make sure that someone doesn't take you too seriously: internet in Italy is NOT translated in Italian (other than italian websites) ;-) This is actually good news for all, bad news for some hotels, for which I'm glad. I don't know about Venice but last year I was in Rome (and I've had similar experiences in other cities since I spend 2 months in Italy every year) and staying at a Marriott they charged 17 euros a day for internet access. That was on top of the 400 euros a day for the s
      • by Splab (574204)

        Odd, I never bring my laptop anywhere if I can avoid it.

        I hate carrying around that thing - also I find them highly annoying at a meeting, much better with pen and paper.

      • Second reply to reply to first post

        Whooooop!!
      • not just Italy

        Yeah, but Venice is a City of Love [visititalytours.com]. Even when in Italy it's quite understandable if you don't take your laptop there.

    • Wish it was active when I went over during Christmas, 5 Euro's a day isn't very expensive really, about the cost of a loaf of a bread in a canal side restaurant!
    • War Sailing (Score:4, Funny)

      by Renderer of Evil (604742) on Sunday July 05, 2009 @03:43AM (#28585003) Homepage

      I'm just glad I don't have to do warsailing anymore. In the past I used to tell my boat rower to keep it steady long enough to break the WPA-PSK while wearing that ridiculous mask.

    • Use 3G instead (Score:3, Interesting)

      by quenda (644621)

      At 5 euro/day ?! Screw that.

      I'll take my 3G phone, which costs 50c/MB roaming on '3' in italy. Good enough for email, and looking up tourist info.
      I expect you can get a prepaid SIM in Italy that will cover the whole country for a lot less that 5 euro/day.
      And if you're in Venice, there are better things to do than reading slashdot all day in some wanky tourist cafe on Piazza San Marco. God, I hope it doesn't have a Starbucks now.

      • Re:Use 3G instead (Score:5, Interesting)

        by pmontra (738736) on Sunday July 05, 2009 @04:58AM (#28585223) Homepage

        I'll take my 3G phone, which costs 50c/MB roaming on '3' in italy. Good enough for email, and looking up tourist info.

        I agree but there might be some reasons that can make the Wi-Fi service attractive to some people. One is that for your 3G contract to be competitive you have stay under a 10 MB cap. That won't let you upload your vacation pictures or download large attachments for business. Nothing that matters to you, probably, but it could matter to somebody else. Wi-Fi could also be an easier connection to setup: tourists will probably be able to register online from their home before leaving for Italy (Venice residents are registering online for the service now). That's seems a better option than looking for the right telephone shop in a foreign country and trying to communicate with personnel that maybe don't speak their language too well.

        God, I hope it doesn't have a Starbucks now.

        There are no Starbucks in Italy and probably there will never be. Starbucks' idea of coffee is too different from the average Italian's idea of coffee, an espresso quickly brewed and quickly consumed at the bar. Ironically, the original Starbucks was selling coffee beans and equipment and started selling coffee drinks only after a journey to Italy of its marketing manager in 1982.

        • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          There are no Starbucks in Italy and probably there will never be. Starbucks' idea of coffee is too different from the average Italian's idea of coffee, an espresso quickly brewed and quickly consumed at the bar.

          The Portuguese idea of coffee is pretty much like the Italian's. "Coffee" here is synonymous with espresso, and nobody would dare serve you anything different. You can find a large espresso machine in virtually every place that serves food or drinks. You can even usually find them in beach bars and small food stands.

          People used to say exactly what you said, that Starbucks would never work in here and that it probably would never come to Portugal as it would be a lousy market for the types of drinks that the

        • by goatpunch (668594)

          I was very amused when Hotel Tenuta di Ricavo in Chianti [ricavo.com] charged 'extra' for an espresso with breakfast, only filter coffee was included. Avoid Ricavo (and Chianti in general for that matter).

          Interestingly McDonalds adapted well to the Italian breakfast and coffee- we stopped in next to Fiumicino Airport in Rome and the espresso bar was 4 people deep, all knocking back shots and taking the odd pastry.

  • ... oh wait.

    • by jo_ham (604554)

      Your sex organ sinking like your house? Cheap pill make your gondola floaty! Buy now!

  • ... until WiFi access is as ubiquitous as mobile-network access and people pay for usage much the same as for mobile phones.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by MichaelSmith (789609)

      ... until WiFi access is as ubiquitous as mobile-network access and people pay for usage much the same as for mobile phones.

      Its a bit of a moot point because protocols change all the time and will no doubt converge in the medium term. If you pay a telco for a data service it won't really matter if the service is wifi or 3G in the future.

      My prediction for the next five years or so is that some businesses will stop wiring their offices for data at all. They will use the 3G cellular network with VPNs for secure communication.

      • Not likely (Score:5, Informative)

        by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday July 05, 2009 @04:11AM (#28585085)

        Wireless is MILES behind wired in terms of speed and reliability. I mean have a look: The very latest and greatest short range wireless tech is N, which is actually still draft technically. If everything is right, you can get 100mbps of actual throughput (throughput on wireless networks is much lower than physical rate). However even that isn't as good as it sounds. That bandwidth is shared with everyone on the same access point. It is a single collision domain. Thus as the number of clients goes up, effective bandwidth goes down.

        Now compare that to wired networks. Gig Ethernet is standard these days. Hard to buy a NIC that isn't gig and gig switches are little more money than 100mbps switches. Also, each and every line on the switch has dedicated bandwidth, in both directions. You can do 1gbps up, 1gbps down at the same time, and so can everyone else. You don't grab bandwidth from each other.

        Of course for uplinks, there's faster stuff, 10gigE is not cheap, but not too bad for a company, and you can bond multiple wires together.

        So wireless isn't going to be taking over most businesses any time soon, unless they have really low bandwidth and latency needs.

        Also, all this is talking about WiFi, not 3G. 3G is slow as hell. Even new TIA-856 Rev. B, which isn't out yet only gets 4.9mbps peak per carrier and about 3 carriers per tower. So you are taking about trying to share cable modem speeds with a whole office on a contention based network. Ya THAT'LL be great.

        Sorry, but this kind of thing isn't going to happen until wireless is fast enough that it isn't noticeable slower than wired, and that it doesn't cost much more. While running cable is a pain, it isn't that much of a pain and you do it once and you are done for many years. I mean even if you laid Cat-3 cable back in 1990, you are still talking about speeds as good as N (better in real usage) and waaaay better than 3G. There's no usage fees either, like 3G. Your switch will happily move data for you all day without additional charge.

        Of course this doesn't even touch on all the security and configuration issues that you'd have.

        I just don't see the fully wireless office coming any time soon.

        • by dbIII (701233)

          I just don't see the fully wireless office coming any time soon.

          It is already happening, and people are not noticing the slow speed because they are using neutered "NAS" devices instead of file servers (or quality NAS devices), so the slow wireless is not the bottleneck. As for getting out to the net, many businesses have a fairly slow or congested connection anyway so once again the slow wireless is not the bottleneck. The effects of building structure and/or the short range of antennas often mean that y

          • by BitZtream (692029)

            Your linksys router with a usb port and a westerndigital MyBook drive is not a NAS device, sorry.

            I can not possibly think of an NAS device other than something you would by at Best Buy that would perform slower than any form of wireless in use.

            Your final statement doesn't even make sense. You like wireless because its lack of security makes it ideal for allowing others to access your network? You do realize you can segment both wired and wireless networks, yes?

            I'm pretty sure from your post that you don't

            • by dbIII (701233)
              You are looking at this from a single user perspective and not thinking of contention. There are dozens of crappy RAID5 devices with a 300MHz or so processor that call themselves "NAS" devices - sadly they don't have a lot more processing power than a linksys + usb drive. Stick one of those in a small business with half a dozen people accessing it at once and even 10Mb/s cable would no longer be the bottleneck. Of course it's a bad idea, but it's becoming increasingly common and those are the sort of pla
        • by Melkman (82959)
          I agree that wired networks will be used by the big majority of businesses for quite some time. An other big advantage of wired networks is that they "just work" with very little problems. And if there is a problem, finding the cause is easy and quick. Problems with wireless networks however are a pain.
          • by Lennie (16154)

            Also all wireless standard have been cracked. If I remember correctly you can send 1GB of wireless packets to Russia and they have a cluster of machines with lots of NVidia GPU's which will 'recover your key' for you in a week time for just a few 1000 dollars. On the fiber side of things you have very advanced systems that can even detect if a fiber has been cut or light deflected and resend. And fiber also can go up to 100 Gbit ethernet. I guess fiber might not be such an obvious choice your phone though,

            • That I have trouble believing. WPA2 uses AES encryption which as far as I can tell is still completely secure. A break in AES would have implications far beyond wireless since it is used to encrypt SSH, financial transactions, government data, and so on. WEP is badly broken, of course, and you don't need anything more than a normal CPU to handle it. I could potentially believe TKIP has a break, though I find no information on this. However AES is the most tested cryptosystem in history, and thus far is secu

              • by BitZtream (692029)

                You don't need to break AES specifically, just break the keying algorithm.

                Theres a LOT more to a secure system than JUST the encryption used.

                • Ok, so show me where there's a break in CCMP (the WPA2 implementation). I've looked, I can't find one. The only thing I've found so far is that using a GPU, or other massively parallel system, you can brute force keys in a PSK system. Ok, fine. However that relies on two things:

                  1) The key must be simple. Only short keys can be broken in this manner. You can't do it on a 12+ character key, it takes too long. While a high end GPU is 30 times fater than a CPU or so at this, that doesn't help if your break time

        • I just don't see the fully wireless office coming any time soon.

          Not for big places but say you run a travel agency, or a little import operation. Many of your people need email but they can do that on their phones now. Maybe your receptionist has one of those netbooks you can buy from the phone company with 3G built in. If you don't need to transfer mass quantities of data, 3G might be enough.

          In years past we had an nntp server on the LAN at work for internal forums. Now that I can get to outside forums I just don't bother. For the younger generation its just going t

        • by Barny (103770)

          I just don't see the fully wireless office coming any time soon.

          Sure it will, it will be as common as the paper-less office...

        • by Tony Hoyle (11698)

          I've been in plenty of offices that are 100% wireless, with a netgear in the corner serving their network. Not all companies are IT and need servers etc. and the average email/browsing/bespoke app stuff needs very little bandwidth to work well.

          As far as your 3G comments go... have you been asleep or are you just American? We have cities here delivering 15mbps over 3G and even from my office I can stream a solid 6mbps. The backhauls on some of these towers have *huge* amounts of bandwidth & the slowdo

      • by BitZtream (692029)

        Ah, insightful ... its good to know that neither you nor anyone moding your comments have any clue about network engineering.

        • Ah, insightful ... its good to know that neither you nor anyone moding your comments have any clue about network engineering.

          Seriously. I work in a place which really does need a good hard wired LAN. It is over-engineered to hell by our IT contractor, mainly to help justify their existence. They use juniper firewalls in place of commodity switches for some reason.

          But most IT consumers don't do the software engineering we do. They move a few word documents around, exchange some emails. Google do email for domains for free now. They do word processing for free as well. Facebook does groupware better than lotus notes ever did.

          In

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It already is.

      I'm currently posting from a train without a WLAN. I'm using Mokkula, a wireless modem the size of an USB stick. It costs me 20 euros a month and the speed is 2 mb/s.

      There are cheaper models of it with lower speeds too and the area where this works is countrywide. (Granted, Finland is a country that is as big as a single state of USA)

      • by Tony Hoyle (11698)

        That's expensive IMO. I pay £5 a month (about 6 euros)... it's capable of 7.2Mbps but you really only get about 6-6.5 at best in cities, and a lot lower out in the sticks.

        Damn thing is a godsend. Wifi is too expensive - expect to pay £10 per *hour* in the average hotel, and of course doesn't work when moving.
           

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 05, 2009 @02:34AM (#28584793)

    ...when there is talk about "free" internet there are cheers by the crowds and when there are talk about free health care the opionons are much more polarized.

    Essentially it's the same thing, government and local authorities providing a "free" service. Of course it's not free, every citizen pays his share with taxes.

    FYI I'm totally positive the government arranging for the basic needs of the public, such as health care, eduction, roads, but have not yet taking a stance in the internet.

    Anyway, although i dont know much about italian internet i'm sure that if this becomes common practice it will affect companies that try to sell internet for living.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by atraintocry (1183485)

      Well in this case it's going to be paid for by the tourists who don't know how to spoof a MAC, and the rest of us get free internet!

      Though to be fair I guess you could get free health care if you know how to spoof an SSN...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Here's an interesting comparison:

      Paying for bottled water is popular without question in areas where people already pay for perfectly safe drinking water.

      Where free wi-fi is proposed, the debate is virtually always a matter of ethics, and not cost.

      Free health care? FUCK THAT!!! DON'T YOU DARE RAISE MY TAXES YOU PINKO COMMIES!!!

      ahem.. I mean, it often encounters far more resistance.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Bluesman (104513)

      Well, let me be the first to say that nothing is truly "free," and this isn't "free" wireless; it's wireless that is paid for through hidden costs (taxes) that Venicians probably did not have a choice but to bear. Adding an intermediary between you and the service provider of nearly any industry can only mean higher costs, because for every intermediate step there's overhead.

      For something as relatively inexpensive as providing wireless access points, the penalty is innocuous for believing you can get somet

      • by Eevee (535658)

        Adding an intermediary between you and the service provider of nearly any industry can only mean higher costs, because for every intermediate step there's overhead.

        Sort of like how you pay more for health coverage via your employer compared to getting it yourself? While there is overhead, there is also the ability to negotiate a better rate due to the collective value of a city's worth of people.

        (And, just to be an ass about it, there's a layer of overhead that the wifi vendor has internal to the company f

      • by Asic Eng (193332)
        Well it seems that it will be financed by the fees charged to the tourists. Assuming that works out, it's free to the residents. A municipality is in some ways similar to a company which is owned by the citizens. You make an investment (installing the infrastructure - paid by taxes) and get a return on that investment (tourists paying for wifi). The dividend in this case is free wireless internet access.

        Of course, instead of paying the dividend as internet access, they could have reduced taxes. So in that

  • Sounds nice (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fearlezz (594718) on Sunday July 05, 2009 @02:53AM (#28584869) Homepage

    But what about privacy? Internet-cafe's are required to make a copy of your passport when you're using their internet. How much will you be spied on when using the wifi service? I guess all packets are stored "against terrorism/child pornography/critisism on berlusconi". Guess the only way to be safe is to setup a vpn and redirect everything over it.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      But what about privacy? Internet-cafe's are required to make a copy of your passport when you're using their internet.

      Where is that? Here in Finland they don't and I've never heard that it would have proved to be a problem (IE: Would have result in excessive illegal use or the right).

      The bars here have WLANs that are one of the three: Completely open, have passwords written on a blackboard on the wall or have passwords that you can ask from the staff (usually for free as long as you buy something).

      As for internet cafes, not only do they require nothing like that here but I've traveled quite a lot especially in southern Eur

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by THEbwana (42694)

        Where is that?

        In Italy. See:
        http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2005/10/passport_requir.html
        for more info.

  • Slovenian capitol city Ljubljana already has a grid of free WLAN hotpoints for everyone.
  • Jealous
  • Singapore has had free wireless coverage [wikipedia.org] in major areas since 2006. I'm glad to see more cities following suit.
    • Have to say I am sceptical of that. I spent a week in Changi Village (one of the localities in the article you linked to) a year ago. I didn't detect any wifi at all. I paid $12 SG per hour for wired internet, charged to work of course. In fact the only free wifi I know of in the region is in KL airport. But it is oversubscribed and very slow.
      • by dnwq (910646)
        The free coverage is limited to built-up public areas, not islandwide (which makes sense - this is a tropical city, who goes outside to work? Hide indoors under air conditioning!). So to find the free wifi you need to trek to the nearest McDonald's or such.
  • by canonymous (1445409) on Sunday July 05, 2009 @03:12AM (#28584935)
    It's a public safety issue! The less wires the better for the next time the city floods.
    • by lxs (131946)

      And when the Mexican flu hits, they don't have to leave their houses.

      This event will be chronicled in the Decametweet [wikipedia.org].

  • Radical proposal?? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Alsee (515537) on Sunday July 05, 2009 @03:26AM (#28584965) Homepage

    I've read a fair number of these 'City-X provides free internet' stories, and as far as I can tell they all have something in common... they all require everyone to to register their identity with the government and log on with a username-password.

    To my ears, thats like the government setting up a free water fountain in a park and requiring people to swipe a drivers license or other ID in order to unlock the water. In fact it sounds to me like they are SPENDING who-knows-how-much EXTRA money to buy and maintain the ID scanner and weld it to the water fountain.

    Is it jut me, or are there others out there thinking that free public water fountains (and free public public access WiFi points) should simply be open?

    -

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      True. We have this service in most public parks of Rome too, but you need to sign in using a cellphone which is of course registered with your personal data, therefore anonimity is not possible. We have to thank for this nonsense the stupid anti-terrorism laws that our politicians enacted blindly following the example of other countries.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by worf_mo (193770)

      Unfortunately, in Italy, thanks to one of the so called laws against terrorism (in this case L155/2005 [camera.it]) whoever offers public access to Internet, be it via a wireless hotspot or an Internet cafe or any other means, must first register the customer's data by requesting a valid ID card (or passport, driver's license) and then collect and preserve usage data (but not content).

      Of course criminal organizations and terrorists are using the Internet, but so are millions of law-abiding citizens. And the same crimin

    • by dkf (304284)

      Is it jut me, or are there others out there thinking that free public water fountains (and free public access WiFi points) should simply be open?

      You're not required to use the free wifi; other mechanisms are still available. "Free" speech does not necessarily mean that it is zero cost, just unrestricted (especially with regard to the political domain). It also does not guarantee anonymity; free speech is public speech.

      To put it a different way: why would the citizens of Venice feel that they have to subsidize your porn access with their taxes?

    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      The concept of non-free wifi hotspots sounds as alien to me today as it sound the first day I encountered one.
    • It's too bad that Internet service isn't more like cable, water, or electricity, where the usage of the service can only be monitored in gross terms, e.g. gallons or watt-hours. It could be, if everything was encrypted and there were plenty of proxies; then all the last-mile provider would see is large blocks of random data.
    • by BitZtream (692029)

      You can police a water fountain by putting a police office next to it to deter or prevent crime occurring on/near the water fountain.

      Its far harder to effectively police roaming wifi. They have to have some way to tie the usage to a person otherwise it will just turn into a free for all much like EFNet 10 years ago.

      Requiring identification gives them SOMETHING to trace. So yes, it is that the goverment is trying to track you and what you are doing, thats kind of how it works when you have to provide some

  • What is the bandwith? Is there a cap on the amount of data?

    Because, you know, bandwith on the backbone is not free.

  • ... because the city residents have paid - and will be paying - for the infrastructure and the service through taxes or other levied fees. It's only "free" in the sense that there's no per-minute or per-hour charges; there's still a cost for it, and the city has to pay for it all somehow. That somehow is most likely higher municipal taxes, whether higher property tax or something else. I'm not saying that's a bad thing... far from it, if it's being done efficiently. This is collectivism at its best, hop

    • I bet their tax increase is a lot less than my broadband bill.

      • by macraig (621737)

        If taking the profiteering out of it is done efficiently, then you're probably right. I said that. It's just not "free".

    • by squeeze69 (756427)
      I don't know, if Cacciari (the major) is smart enough, Venice could get a really cheap contract through sponsors. It's a little bit known in the world and has some tourist now and then. :-)
      • by macraig (621737)

        That would certainly add another facet to the cliche "tourist trap", wouldn't it, if they're gouging visitors using wi-fi to pay for their own use of the system?

  • by FranTaylor (164577) on Sunday July 05, 2009 @06:40AM (#28585547)

    Venice residents will soon begin renting their accounts to tourists for 3 euros/day.

  • Here I am, a tourist currently right smack in the middle of Venice. And not until I read it on Slashdot two days after the fact have I realized what the big stage on Piazza S. Marco was for.

    What do you mean 'talk to people'?
  • after all, theirs was the longest lasting ever republic, lasting more than 1000 years. no surpise that some of the spirit still remains.

  • I suspect that one of the reasons the Italian government did this was to make Venice a little bit more attractive as a place to live.

    Venice is an amazing place, full of history. It's also an expensive place, as it is somewhat disconnected (no cars or trucks for hauling stuff, just boats and hand carts) and the glorious old houses are somewhat crumbling. I read that the Italian government is worried about a trend where wealthy foreigners buy apartments or houses in Venice; they don't want Venice to become

  • Free, eh? So no taxes or anything are involved, huh?

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