free wireless internet for Berlin least that seems to be the vague idea of Michael Müller, head of Berlin’s social democrats party SPD.

So far it is not clear if this wireless web access would grant full range free access to ‘the real web’ – or just some kind of ‘city web’. The city of Heidelberg at least offers such a reduced free-but-not-open web access solution, mainly ment to be used by tourists (see also the related article at Spiegel online (german))..

Of course instead I would warmly recommend a free municipal WiFi access solution to the ‘real web’ for Berlin – with full access to the internet, full email functionality, but maybe with some kind of bandwidth limiter installed so that misusing the free web slowing down the overall speed for everybody by uploading or downloading movies or other large files.. – ..but otherwise in my opinion the web should be freely accessible for everybody – everywhere.

I know there are various good examples of working open city access points – one good example can be found in the European neighbourhood: The Finnish capital Helsinki offers open access points already since 2006 (see also the related article at Helsingin Sanomat Newspaper) – first public libraries and offices opened up their wlan base stations, later some additional 70 stations were installed, today even public transport vehicles (buses and trams) offer free access points to their passengers (see also the related article at Helsingin Sanomat Newspaper) so that today a large area of helsinki’s city centre is covered by the city’s free internet access.

The biggest problem might actually be, that in Berlin things are usually not really decided quickly – and so it might be, that there will be alternatives growing quicker than the well discussed Master Plan. One of the most promissing alternatives I see is Berlins density of bars and cafés (see also for an (incomplete) overview). Quite many are already offering free wireless internet access – and i am quite optimistic that this trend will continue to grow and soon will cover most of the ‘interesting areas’ anyways – regardless to whatever the city council may come up with – or not..

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