District offices provide wireless Internet access
Here’s a tip on how to save that out-of-pocket expenses. Find a bench around the district or town office near you. Sixteen of the districts in Seoul including Seongdong and Dongjak have placed wireless access points in their administration offices and nearby parks for free wireless Internet access 24 hours a day.
So the reporter went there for a testing: Sat on a bench in front of the Majang town office of Seongdong district in eastern Seoul, opened the laptop and clicked on the Wifi icon on the bottom right.
No separate authentication procedure was needed. The Internet immediately came up. The connection was steady.
Nam Won-gi, a district technology staff member, said the access point is capable of providing the free Internet service to as many as 40 people at the same time.
Along with Majang town office, which is one of 20 town offices within the Seongdong district that provide such service, the vicinity around Sowol Art Hall also in the same district has a free wireless Internet zone as well.
“We are only one month into the service but residents are happy with the network so much that we are planning to expand the program to public parks as well,” Park Sang-hui, head of the planning department at the district.
As for Dongjak district in southern Seoul, four of its public parks have already started providing free WiFi service.
The four parks, Noryangjin Citizen Park, Sayuksin Park, Samil Park and Noryangjin Neighborhood Park are wired under a program dubbed “The Roya Wireless Internet Park.” (Roya is the name of a snowy heron, the Dongjak district’s mascot.)
In any of these parks, you have access to the Internet. On a recent afternoon in Sayuksin Park, a laptop-lugging hipster was spotted on a bench browsing through the Net.
Gangbuk district lends out wireless LAN cards to visitors who need them.
Jung district went a step further and announced they are running a free international phone call service. The phone call is through Internet phone.
That attracted quite a lot of residents who want to use the service. Kim Sang-jin, who used to make international phone calls to his girlfriend who is studying in Japan, now visits the Jung district office regularly. While he is there, he makes calls to his friends’ cell phones because they are free as well.
But not all districts in Seoul yet offer such e-friendly service.
“Internet-related service is mostly for the benefit of the young people,” said a Yongsan staff member who explained his district does not have such a service. “Unfortunately, such ideas gets pushed aside in the budget meeting.”
by Lee Min-a
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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