Monday 10 December 2012

Travelling and Living: Free Wi-Fi in Hong Kong

Air pollution in Hong Kong never seems to improve
Image from SCMP

Hong Kong may not be the best city on the planet (a point that is disagreed by CNN Travel and The Economists) due to its sky-high air-pollution and a government's inability to deliver promises, it still has the charm to attract tourists, whether the number is rising or falling is another story.

I'm not going to repeat the points mentioned in the CNN Travel article, but I do want to add one point to it -- Hong Kong does have a really good internet coverage both wired and wireless.

Recently a friend-cum-classmate of mine, Huiying, came to visit me from Singapore with her husband and probably their main concern is how they could reach me without making insanely expensive roaming calls.

To find me, the easiest way is through Naver LINE. Although Whatsapp is still most of my friend's first choice of communication, it doesn't have the free internet call that Naver Line offers, so personally, I use Whatsapp with acquaintances (eg. property agents, smartphone vendors, computer shop owners, people I don't usually contact with) due to its dull interface and limited functions and use LINE with relatives and close friends with whom I send cute and funny stickers. This is the main reason I think Whatsapp should really be sold to Facebook before it turns into the next MSN or ICQ.

Then again, whether you use LINE, Whatsapp or Facebook, you will need to have internet access, so how can a tourist get internet access in Hong Kong? Hong Kong Extras has a nice article titled Internet Access For Visitors which I sent to my friend as reference.

iCentre at MTR
Image from See-ming Lee SML
Thanks to the great Free Wi-Fi coverage, especially at the iCentres of MTR and various shopping malls, my friend could contact me without much difficulty (a minor setback was that the free Wi-fi on the buses generally is a waste of time and my friend's iPhone 4S never got the PCCW's SMS activation code for 60-day free Wi-Fi).

Ricky Wong
Image from SCMP
The reason Hong Kong has such magnificent internet coverage infrastructure, as you probably can guess, isn't because of the government, but one entrepreneur who aimed to make a difference all his life, and that man is Ricky Wong Wai Kay. His Hong Kong Broadband provided high-quality, high-speed internet services at a low price forcing the competitors to lower their charges and upping their standards, thus rocketing the speed of internet wiring across the city and eventually creating a lovely environment for the local Hongkongers to have access to the internet as well as to have the choice to choose their internet service providers (ISP).

Nowadays even normal households can have 1000M LAN connections and 4G LTE in Hong Kong and the price is SO affordable!! Hongkongers are really blessed to have access to internet information so easily and so quickly. In Ireland, where my parents live, this is what they are getting and shared among 5 people,

Image from Eircom
Which is not bad, but not many years behind the kind of speed that Hong Kong netizens enjoy.

So be thankful, Hongkongers, we are all very lucky.

PS: For more free Wi-Fi information in Hong Kong, do read Hong Kong's best Wifi cafes by Time Out HK


infrastructure -- (n) [C]  the basic structure of an organization or system which is necessary for its operation, esp. public water, energy, and systems for communication and transport
rocketing -- (adj) rise, increase, or move very quickly:
netizen -- (n)[C] a portmanteau of the English words Internet and citizen.


50 reasons Hong Kong is the world's greatest city @ CNN Travel

Hong Kong's best @ The Economists

It's official: Hong Kong has poor air quality @ SCMP

Hong Kong hosting Better Air Quality Conference - with a red face @ SCMP

Technology & News: Free Apps To Recommend Part 1 @ Locky's English Playground

Facebook rumored to be interested in buying WhatsApp – but does WhatsApp want to be bought @ digitaltrendsftw



Ricky Wong (Hong Kong businessman) @ Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Your Essential Guide to Eating at Hong Kong | Hong Kong's best Wifi cafes @ Time Out HK