Vienna leaders reject WLAN appeal

Public transport passengers in Vienna will not be provided with free wireless local area network (WLAN) internet access.The city government coalition of Social Democrats (SPÖ) and the Green Party ruled out such implementations in the near future. The government was pressed to comment on the issue after federal People’s Party (ÖVP) youth leader Sebastian Kurz called on Mayor Michael Häupl and his cabinet to set up free WLAN on buses and trams in Vienna.Reacting to the decision, Kurz said today (Fri): “What works out in cities like Madrid (in Spain) and Linz (in Upper Austria) seems to be undoable in Vienna.”Viennese public transport provider Wiener Linien registered nearly 839 million passengers last year.The SPÖ-Green coalition’s agreement not to focus on the introduction of WLAN in Wiener Linien public transport vehicles may have to do with the city’s strained budget. SPÖ Vienna Financial Issues Councillor Renate Brauner said last year the government will spend 11.43 billion Euros in 2011 while earnings will range around 10.81 billion Euros. Such amounts of revenue and expenditure would increase the capital’s debt to around almost three billion Euros.Statisticians of Statistik Austria said in November that around three in four households in the country’s nine provinces including Vienna had access to the internet. They added that a majority of 67 per cent of households with internet access are logging on to the World Wide Web (WWW) on laptops and notebooks. Fewer than one in three (27 per cent) did so in 2005 when the most Austrians used personal computers (PCs) to surf the web.