Widespread, free public wifi finally coming to Tokyo thanks to NTT and subway operators

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Anyone who’s visited the Japanese capital can probably tell you that free public wifi is few and far between. Once a tourist ventures beyond the confines of the Narita or Haneda international airports, connecting to the web without a local SIM card can become an exercise in futility. Sure, you can usually register for a free one-hour session at Starbucks – if you happen to be hanging around one of the major train stations or sightseeing locales. But if you’re a hipster trying to avoid the crowds and get a real neighborhood experience, you might be out of luck when it comes time to Instagram that #best #bowl of #ramen everrr.

Luckily, Tokyo’s winning bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics has acted as a catalyst for expanding and improving upon the city’s infrastructure – including wifi access for visitors. According to Engadget Japan, subway operators Tokyo Metro and the Tokyo Metropolitan Bureau of Transportation (which operates the Toei Oedo subway) will offer free wifi access at 143 different stations across the capital. Upon registering via a dedicated app, Japan Connected-free Wi-Fi (available for iOS and Android), users can connect to the NTT broadband-powered network. Each session is limited to three hours, but users can reconnect as many times as they want.

Tokyo has lagged behind its neighbors when it comes to offering free public wifi – both at home and abroad. In October, the western city of Fukuoka began offering an expansive wifi network, with hotspots at train stations, public offices, shopping centers, and tourist attractions. Singapore launched free wifi access at MRT stations across the city-state in August, and the Ministry of Transport says the service now boasts 145,000 users. The Taipei government allows tourists to register ahead of their trip for 30 days of free wifi from more than 5,000 hotspots across the country. Hong Kong allows visitors to connect to free wifi at MTR stations for 15 minutes at a time.

Article from Engadget Japan

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