Free Wi-Fi in the UAE: Coming soon?

Citywide Wi-Fi across major cities in the Middle East, especially Dubai and Abu Dhabi, could soon become a reality, a senior official at the plumber of the Internet, Cisco, has said.

There are already a few cities that are getting their residents connected to free Wi-Fi within their boundaries, and Dubai could be next in line.

“You could soon see citywide coverage of Wi-Fi as it is poised for a major growth and will set the future trend,” says Rabih Dabboussi, Managing Director, Cisco Middle East.

Speaking to Emirates 24|7, Dabboussi said Internet is poised for a major growth and will become more accessible as outdoor Wi-Fi will become more prominent compared to 3G and even 4G.

Associated Press reported last month that the city of Santa Clara in the US became the first in the country to use wireless, digital “smart meters” on homes as channels for free citywide outdoor Wi-Fi.

“This is just one of the major benefits our community will enjoy as a result of our advanced metering technology. Now our residents, visitors and local workforce can get Internet access while waiting for a train, shopping downtown, getting their car washed or relaxing in their yard,” the agency quoted John Roukema, director of Silicon Valley Power, the community’s utility provider as saying.

A recent report by Juniper on mobile data offload also points out that Wi-Fi networks are expected to handle the majority of mobile data traffic by 2017.

According to the report data traffic generated by mobile handsets and tablets will reach 90,000 petabytes by 2017 and only 40 per cent of the data will go over cellular networks.

Cisco Visual Networking Index Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast for 2012 to 2017 reckons that, in Middle East and Africa, mobile data traffic will grow 17-fold from 2012 to 2017, a compound annual growth rate of 77 per cent.

“Today, most of the people are connected, tomorrow everything else will be interconnected. We already have a tree with thousands of followers on the social media,” says Dabboussi.

According to him, cloud and mobile computing are further enhancing this trend and enabling for a greater interconnected world.

“At Cisco, we are focused on assisting businesses and governments in the Middle East to innovate, evolve and increase productivity,” he says.  

The growth of Internet will also boost citizen services. We are already witnessing how it can transform Healthcare and education. “Today we can have classrooms operating in remote area of the world, with specialized teaching staff located in some of the world’s best institutions. Internet has made it possible,” he adds.

Cisco, which recently organised the (Internet of Everything) IoE in Dubai is of the opinion that the growth of mobile technology and increasing use of multimedia content including HD Videos will create $14.4 trillion in value and boost the overall corporate profits by 21 per cent all by 2022.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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