As per the media release by ICTA, soon Sri Lankans will be enjoying free WiFi facility in selected locations. It was decided to allow 100 mb per person per month at a speed of 512 kbps initially.
It will take around 16 minutes to download 1 mb of data using a 512 kbps (kilobits per second) connection link assuming the connectivity guarantee the maximum speed all the time. In contrast Dialog claims their 4G speed around 20 mbps (2.5 mega bytes per second). 512 kbps connection would be similar to the dial-up connections we had few years back.
While there are questions regarding the data limitation and speed limitation, such initiative could be timely important basic need for a developing country, I believe. Empowering public places with (free) Wi Fi would be really necessary and at the same time proper management of those networks is very important too. Techniques such as bandwidth limitations for content (limit bandwidth for social media sites, music and video streaming) would be really required to maintain Fair Usage policy. Such content could be made available for a nominal rate.
Wi Fi zones are not a new concept in Sri Lanka since some prominent ISPs maintain several thousands of Wi Fi hotspots covering the island. However those are not free.
We are in an information era, everything is all about information. Therefore free access to information would be a good step forward. We should be looking forward to improve such services as much as possible by preserving the quality of the networks, it is not only the government officials duty but also the responsibility of civil citizens too.