Salzburg sets up free WLAN

Political decision-makers in other Austrian tourism hotspots may be pressed to act after Salzburg’s officials introduced free wireless local area network (WLAN) internet access.City officials said today (Thurs) residents and holidaymakers can enter the World Wide Web (WWW) free of charge with their laptops, notebooks, tablets, PCs and smartphones at three popular places in the ancient city centre free of charge between 5am and midnight as of now.Social Democratic (SPÖ) Mayor Heinz Schaden explained people interested in using the service must register. “We do not want the offer to be abused by people surfing on sexist and pornographic websites and any other sort of disputed contents.”Schaden added that the city and an initiative aiming to make the city centre more attractive agreed to share the annual costs of 20,000 Euros.Reports have it that public pools and libraries will be next in line to get free WLAN access – a move considered as long overdue by many residents as many public institutions in other Austrian cities already provide such services.Hotels and guesthouses in the city of Salzburg registered 2.2 million overnight stays last year. The facilities’ occupancy rate improved by three per cent compared to the previous year as 49.6 per cent of beds were booked.International travel website Trivago reported last week that a standard double room in the birthplace of composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart currently costs 122 Euros, up sharply by 20 Euros to rates charged last month. The platform constantly compares hotel prices in Europe’s largest cities with its Trivago Hotel Price Index (THPI).Salzburg’s decision to set up free WLAN comes shortly after the city government in Vienna made clear it had no such plans in the foreseeable future.The joint administration of Social Democrats (SPÖ) and the Green Party explained it was not intending to introduce free WLAN on buses and trams after People’s Party (ÖVP) youth department chief Sebastian Kurz called on the coalition to get active in this regard.Many libraries, restaurants, bars and other public and private institutions in the capital have been providing free access to the WWW for some years.