Wi-Fi for Market Square

Currently Krakow has a limited number of “hot spots” where someone with a wireless-fidelity-enabled laptop can connect to the Internet. These include The Town Hall Tower area, part of ul. Szeroka — where The Old Synagogue is — and some hotels, restaurants and cafes.

To create a hot spot, technicians connect a high-speed cable or digital subscriber line to equipment that sends out a radio signal. Anyone with a computer that can receive the signal can access the Internet.

“By the end of June 2007, a wireless network should cover all the Market Square area, the Small Market and King?s Road from Barbican to the Wawel Castle,” said Piotr Malcharek director of the city government’s Information Infrastructure Department. Later on Wi-Fi will be available throughout Old Town, Planty and Nowy Platz in the Kazimierz district and all of ul. Szeroka as well.

The city budgeted 500,000 zloty to inaugurate the service. It will cost 20,000 to 30,000 zloty a month to run it. Wi-Fi means Internet users aren’t tied to an office or Internet café. They surf the Net, e-mail and make phone calls from anywhere. Wi-Fi also introduces a whole new realm of possible applications for those on the go – from real estate agents being able to show homes using the Internet to access to police in emergencies.

Wi-Fi carries with it security risks because hackers can position themselves to intercept wireless signals. So users should think twice about doing online banking with Wi-Fi.

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