People are quickly starting to count Wi-Fi as one of their major necessities – we have all experienced the annoyance of weak Wi-Fi signal at an event, or had that awkward exchange with a waiter that won’t give you a restaurant’s Wi-Fi password. Let’s face it, Wi-Fi is a massive part of our physical and digital lives, and many of us would be at a loss without it!
There has recently been an increase in the amount of Wi-Fi hotspots around the world. Whilst some of these are quite generic, there are other stranger hotspot locations creeping up at an alarming rate. Canada recently announced that they will be providing Wi-Fi hotspots to their parks across the country; beaches have also become a major hub for Wi-Fi hotspots, as well as subway stations, taxis, and even a cemetery in Paducah, Kentucky! Amongst the most interesting of these hotspots are Space (according to reports, passengers on the Virgin Galactic will have access to Wi-Fi whilst on their Space expedition, to upload photos or random thoughts), and Mt. Everest.
The Nepalese communications company ‘Ncell’ are providing a Wi-Fi hotspot at Everest base camp, ensuring that if you ever do decide to climb Mt. Everest you can stop, relax and take a selfie with fellow mountaineers and upload it to Facebook or Instagram in real time.
If those Wi-Fi hotspots weren’t bizarre enough, the Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, recently commissioned the conversion of 20th century phone booths stationed all around New York into 21st century Wi-Fi hotspots. This will allow New Yorkers to have access to free Wi-Fi all around the city and not just in the subways. There is a certain beauty about recycling old and unused phone booths, into functioning Wi-Fi hubs that will connect people on a different level.
Where does this leave South Africa in the Wi-Fi hotspot boom? There are many Internet cafes around the country, and events, retail and restaurants are quickly catching on to the need for providing free Wi-Fi to their customers. Most popular of these hotspots is Seapoint promenade, which makes it easy to upload your beach selfies, or the latest sunset in real time without worrying about data charges. And even if you don’t frequent Seapoint, you can find free Wi-Fi hotspots on a website called ‘Find Free WiFi’. This site allows you to find free Wi-Fi hotspots that have been added to the South African map, it is also interactive, allowing you to tag any hotspots that aren’t already on the map.
Pretty soon we will be able to connect to Wi-Fi anywhere, and at any time – keeping us constantly connected and always ready to take that winning selfie.