Haven’t had time to analyze this election promise, so was very happy to see a CPRsouth alumnus take an excellent run at it.
Usually, these free Wi-Fi services have lower speeds compared to the average home connection, and often come with a data or a time cap. Perth, for example, offers free public Wi-Fi in a certain area, with a limit of 50MB per connection. Do your stuff, and then get out of the way; let the next user in.
Effective, intelligent limiting is one solution. Lots of bandwidth is the other. New York, for example has a plan called LinkNYC, where they’re replacing telephone boxes with giant consoles that provide free Wi-Fi, 24/7, “upto gigabit speeds”). It’s set to go by late 2015. LinkNYC involves, according to reports, some $200 million spend on fiber. And even so, each giant console has limitation: a radius of a 150 feet, a maximum of 256 devices connected to it, and a total speed of 1 Gbps, with design updates every four years.
The third option is to just have very few users connected to Wi-Fi. Which is what Exporail does; have a small, manageable number of users connected to an Access Point. Everybody’s happy.
Somehow, I doubt we have $200 million to throw around on Wi-Fi at train stations, so it comes down to having technically hamstrung connections. Or, this being Sri Lanka, and it being SLT, option no 3: Majestic City Wi-Fi, which means everybody can connect to it, but nobody can use it.