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Seoul City to provide free high-speed Wi-Fi in all public places

Seoul City will construct a free Wi-Fi internet access system in every public space in the city by next year as part of its new move to go further digital, officials said.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government said that the free high-speed Wi-Fi will be accessible in all public places, including public institutions, parks, plazas and roads. So far, the free Wi-Fi has been limited to public transportation, such as subway lines and buses.

This is part of the city’s five-year initiative to transform the capital into a “digital city.” 

“This year will be the crucial time for the city to be become a global digital city. And the new initiative will serve as the blueprint. The city will put in efforts to solve various city problems by carrying out citizen-driven digital measures and boosting the new digital industry, thereby making Seoul the world’s digital capital by 2020,” said Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon in a press conference Tuesday.
Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon speaks at a press conference Tuesday. (Yonhap)
Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon speaks at a press conference Tuesday. (Yonhap)

Along with the free high-speed Wi-Fi service, the city will allow drivers to check vacancies in 550 of the 1,500 city parking lots, in real time via a smartphone app from 2020. This aims to improve the parking situation in the city, officials said. 

The existing parking app only offers information about the location, opening hours and parking fees. 

As part of its efforts to boost the financial technology industry, Seoul City will cultivate 30 start-ups by 2020 and support the training of some 330,000 human resources in “G-Valley,” a digital industry cluster set to open in Gaepo, Gangnam-gu in September this year. 

G-Valley will foster 1,240 digital experts through an Internet of Things academy, Hackathon and various conferences.

The city will also expand Internet of Things -- Internet-connected everyday devices -- projects to 100 regions by 2010, making the city a “living lab,” the authorities said.

Last year, the city government initiated an Internet of Things trial project in Bukchon, Jongno, where Internet of Things technology is utilized to support daily life, such as curbing illegal parking problems with automatic alerts and reporting when public trash cans are full. 

To better share the city’s “digital experiences” and know-how, Seoul City will also host the Seoul Digital Summit every year with global digital companies, officials added.

The city will inject about 460 billion won ($373 million) into the five-year digital plan, officials said. 

By Lee Hyun-jeong (