The city of Paris has begun offering free Wi-Fi access in public parks and gardens, museums, libraries, and other public buildings. To find out which areas have Wi-Fi, go to wifi.paris.fr. Inspired by San Francisco, the mayor of Paris, Bertrand DelanoÃ«, issued a public tender last year, seeking a provider to deploy the hotzones. SFR and Alcatel-Lucent won the bid. France Telecom, a sour grapes loser, is suing the city, saying it is unfairly competing with FT’s own paid hotspot access. France Telecom’s subsidiary, Orange, is reportedly Apple’s exclusive partner in France for the iPhone.
Ironically, San Francisco, the original model for this project, has no Wi-Fi. I guess depending too much on a private company to fund everything (in SF’s case, EarthLink) is a fantasy.
To read more about the Paris Wi-Fi project, click here. Another successful project recently launched by the city is Velib, free bicycles available at various points in the city, especially around metro stops. The city partnered with JC Decaux, the outdoor advertising company, to fund this project.
Paris Wi-Fi website: wifi.paris.fr