Taiwan is really going for it in the WLAN stakes: Taipei WLAN Wifly Takes off reports that: WiFly, a WLAN (wireless local area network) that will cover all of the main populated areas in Taipei City in its first phase, began operations on February 1. Qware Systems & Services is the builder and operator of the network under a BOT (build-operate-transfer) contract signed in September, 2004, with the Taipei city government.
The plan, the Digitimes says, involves setting up 10,000 access points around the city. The first phase covers about 20% of the population of the city, and the second phase, covering another 30%, will be done by June. By the end of the year, 90% will be covered. For now it’s free, and 10,000 people have already registered.
This figure, according to the Taipei Times, is not overly impressive: Taipei’s cyber city project is one of the largest in the world in terms of areas of coverage and the capital spent. Yet Wifly does not seem to have built a large customer base as statistics compiled by the city suggests since Wifly began its trial run in December, an average of 250 people use the service daily, and each user spends 48 minutes.
Still, the project, called the Mobile City Project, or M-City, is thinking big: The paper quotes Mayor Ma Ying-jeou as saying “Taipei will be the world’s first and largest mobile city, where users can access the Internet wherever they go”.