Residents of the state of Selangor is now able to enjoy free WiFi in over 800 locations. This is thanks to the efforts of the state government and the launch of WiFi Selangorku by Menteri Besar Mohamed Azmin Ali yesterday. The Selangor government had promised to set up free 4G WiFi for the state in June last year, and it looks like it is at least trying to make that happen.
Selangor Education, Human Capital Development, Science, Technology and Innovation exco Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad said that there will be an additional 120 WiFi hotspots added by the end of October; with the remaining 1,580 hotspots to be completed by the end of the year. All told, there is set to be some 2,500 locations set to receive the WiFi hotspots.
Nik Nazmi explained that the choice of locations for the hotspots were made based on areas that housed large numbers of students, low-income groups, rural areas, or were tourist destinations. WiFi Selangorku hotspots will be marked with notices, although users will be able to check for themselves through their WiFi enabled devices.
The speed of the connection will vary across hotspots due to the availability of fibre-optic cables. In areas where these are available, users will see speeds of a minimum of 1Mbps. Other areas will rely on ADSL or 3G technology and will instead see a maximum download speed of 1Mbps. This is a far cry from the original 4G speeds that were proposed by the state government last year, but perhaps they were aiming their sights a little too high at the time.
While the government did not reveal who will be providing the service, the contact information on the helpline reveals that Telekom Malaysia is behind the setup. This isn’t too surprising, considering that TM has the most extensive cable network in the state (or country for that matter).
This announcement is good news for those who cannot afford their own internet subscription, and is a step in the right direction towards a more developed state. That being said, potential WiFi Selangorku users should ensure that they are using the service near a hotspot. Free WiFi like this can easily be spoofed by hackers by simply setting up their own WiFi network with the same name. All it takes is for a few bad apples to spoil the whole experience, and people should be informed about these potential threats.