Saudi Arabia is to provide 60,000 free Wi-Fi points in a number of public places thanks to a newly announced initiative.
According to press reports in the region, the 60,000 free Wi-Fi hotspots (or possibly more) will be rolled out in public locations across Saudi Arabia as part of a Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) initiative.
CITC, according to its website, is an institution that has the responsibility of enabling an innovative communications infrastructure, while ensuring that services provided within the Kingdom meet the accessibility, performance, fairness and value standards that it sets.
Among the places receiving free Wi-Fi access will be hospitals, malls, public parks and the Two Holy Mosques (in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina). The initiative includes free access to the public Wi-Fi network for each service provider for up to two hours per day in a number of Saudi cities.
CITC has worked with telecommunications providers to implement the initiative and will continue to oversee its introduction.
The current phase includes unifying the network name for these free Wi-Fi points, facilitating user entry, and providing coverage maps that showcase all free Wi-Fi points across the country.
It seems as though this really is a first for the country. There is a Wi-Fi service from operator stc available in more than 30,000 locations across Saudi Arabia. This, however, is a paid service with packages available on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
Of course technology is a fundamental pillar of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, which involves investment in a number of public service sectors, and the ICT sector in particular, in the ongoing effort to reduce Saudi Arabia’s dependence on oil.