SINGAPORE – As part of the ongoing celebrations to honor World Wi-Fi Day 2017, the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) has announced that its City Wi-Fi Roaming project will run for a second year. Facilitated by the WBA, and in conjunction with 38 world leading operators, including AT&T, BT, Orange, Telstra and Korea Telecom, the project will enable consumers and visitors to automatically, and securely, roam between public Wi-Fi networks in 17 major cities around the globe, between 20th June – 20th August.
World Wi-Fi Day, which took place on 20th June, was launched by the WBA in 2016 to help accelerate the deployment of affordable wireless globally. The initiative encourages cities and government bodies, as well as operators, service providers, technology vendors and internet giants, to come together to deliver connectivity to everyone, everywhere. As part of this year’s World Wi-Fi Day, the WBA highlighted that 1.75 billion citizens in the world’s 8 richest cities are unconnected.
The City Wi-Fi Roaming project was launched last year as part of World Wi-Fi Day, allowing consumers to roam between 4 cities. This year, the project has expanded significantly and is connecting hotspots from 17 major cities across the world, including: Barcelona (Spain), Birmingham (UK), Bradford (UK), Dublin (Ireland), Singapore, Kazan (Russia), Leeds (UK), Limerick (Ireland), Moscow (Russia), New York City (USA), Nizhny Novgorod (Russia), Perm (Russia), Saint-Petersburg, Samara (Russia), San Jose (USA), Sendai (Japan) and Yekaterinburg (Russia).
The WBA has defined the framework and best practices for roaming for the project through its Next Generation Hotspot (NGH), which is based on PasspointTM technology and WRIX (Wireless Roaming Intermediary Exchange). By providing the standards necessary, along with outlining the type of information needed from the Wi-Fi networks, as well as the requirements on how to exchange relevant information between involved parties, the WBA is facilitating simple and seamless connectivity for users.
The comprehensive framework for Wi-Fi Roaming services provided by the WBA covers interconnection, data clearing, financial clearing and the exchange of Wi-Fi location information between operators. Together, these elements ensure a secure experience is delivered to end users.
Operators supporting the City Roaming initiative include 2 Degrees New Zealand, AT&T, Airtel, AIS Thailand, Bell Mobility, BT, Celcom Axiata Berhad, China Mobile, csl Hong Kong, Dialog Axiata, Etisalat Nigeria, Fon, Idea Cellular, JSC ER-Telecom Holding, Korea Telecom, M1, MegaFon RU, Mobilink, Mobily, Mobitel, MTN Nigeria, NTT DOCOMO, Omantel, Orange, Portugal Telecom, PT Telkom Indonesia, Robi Axiata, Shaw, SKT, Smartone, StarHub, Sudatel, Swisscom, TATA Teleservices, Telstra, Telus, TRUE, and Videotron. The interconnectivity partners for the project are Accuris Networks, Syniverse, BSG Wireless, with Cisco, Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, and Ruckus Wireless as the infrastructure providers. GlobalReach delivers the captive portal for the project, and is providing a Wi-Fi AAA/Hotspot 2.0 online signup (OSU) platform.
“The free Wi-Fi roaming service is based on the WBA’s NGH, which not only allows consumers to seamlessly connect to Wi-Fi hotspots across major cities across the globe, but also ensures extra security and a better user experience are delivered to those that connect,’ said Shrikant Shenwai, CEO of the WBA.
“The WBA is committed to connecting the unconnected, and our City Roaming project is just one initiative that is helping bring more Wi-Fi connectivity to those that need it. We are encouraging cities, governments, operators and tech giants to come together to bring affordable connectivity to everyone, everywhere. Connectivity has the power to improve the way we live, reduce income equality, provide more resources to our cities and make our streets safer. Our mission is to give citizens, regardless of where they are in the world, access to the internet, and to allow them to enjoy the benefits that come with connectivity,” added Shrikant.
“Wi-Fi has emerged as a necessity for engaged communities. The City of San José is proud to be part of the WBA’s Wi-Fi Roaming project for the 2nd year,” said Rob Lloyd, CIO at City of San José. “The Connected Cities Wi-Fi initiative embodies our digital inclusion aspirations in its accessibility, affordability, ubiquity, security, and superior user experience.”
The Wireless Broadband Alliance is supported by more than 120 leading names in the telecoms industry, including operators and technology companies such as AT&T, BT, Cisco, Comcast, NTT DOCOMO, Google, Intel, Liberty Global and Orange.