From the start of February, the Slovenian capital offers its residents and visitors 60 minutes of free internet access. The free access is currently available in the city centre, while in the coming months it will be broadened to cover the greater Ljubljana area.
In Ljubljana on Monday 4 February 2013, the first phase of a Wi-Fi wireless broadband network that we have named WiFreeLjubljana was launched.
80 access points have been set up in the first phase, which provide wireless signal over parts of the broader downtown area. Use of the WiFreeLjubljana wireless network is free for an hour a day. The City of Ljubljana has constructed and brought the wireless network into use in its territory in a public-private partnership in association with Telekom Slovenije d. d. and NIL d. o. o.
The project, which is among the first of its kind in the world, and is estimated to cost around 10 million euros, will, in addition to making it a friendlier city for residents and visitors alike, enable the consolidation of the IT and telecommunications services of the City of Ljubljana and its public institutes and have a significant impact on the commercial competitiveness and general development of the Slovenian capital. The partnership has been contracted for a period of ten years.
The biggest information and communications technology (ICT) project in Ljubljana’s history meets the expectations of all the public and private partners involved. In the longer term, the consolidation of the network will reduce costs and enable fast and economically efficient deployment of new services. In this way, Ljubljana will become an even friendlier city for residents and visitors alike, while the modern approach puts all those involved in a prominent position on the global technology map.
Once the WiFreeLjubljana wireless network is fully constructed, it will provide a signal and internet access to 90% of the broader downtown area, 80% of the residential areas within the ring road and 40% of the suburban areas as far out as the City of Ljubljana boundary. The network will comprise around 1,430 wireless points.
The technical solution and implementation is the product of Slovenian know-how and is entrusted to Telekom Slovenije and NIL d.o.o.. Both are among the pioneers in ICT: as a progressive and leading domestic provider of electronic communications services, Telekom Slovenije is confirmed via this project as an innovative and customer-oriented company. NIL is counted as one of the world’s top companies in the fields of networks, data centres and cloud computing. The project is demanding as it involves and requires all the latest technological knowledge in this field. For example, in this advanced network, Telekom Slovenije is to offer the comprehensive solution services in a cloud.
Access to WifreeLjubljana
It is not necessary to be a registered user to access free content. The user activates the wi-fi adapter on their device and connects to the WiFreeLjubljana network, then opens the internet browser and types the title (URL) of the website. If a URL that is always accessible free (eg www.ljubljana.si) is typed, the page opens, while if a URL that is not freely accessible (eg www.google.com) is typed, you are redirected to a portal where you can choose free internet access.
Under the umbrella of the free content to which users will have access without registering, it is anticipated that there will be the following domains, among others: www.ljubljana.si, www.vistiljubljana.si, www.siol.net, www.telekom.si, www.mobitel.si, www.najdi.si, www.itak.si and the websites of all of the public institutes and companies of the City of Ljubljana. There are no restrictions of time or data quantity in your access to these pages.
WiFreeLjubljana network users will have available to them an hour of free-of-charge internet access a day, which is to be under the following conditions: the time limit will be 60 minutes cumulatively (an option of multiple registrations in the period from 00:00 to 24:00); there will be no quantitative restriction on data transfer; download speeds are limited to 512 kb/s; users sign up to the network via a portal with the entry of their mobile phone number and with a WiFree code, which they receive by SMS message. Once their free 60 minutes have expired, users can opt for a daily purchase (24 hours from the moment of first registration) at a cost of €3.90, seven-day purchase at a price of €9.90 or 30-day purchase at a price of €29.90.
Payable access to the network will be possible with Moneta and credit cards. The user will make payment by selecting the icon for buying a WiFree code; they will be offered a choice to select a payable package (24 hours, 7 days or 30 days) and choice of payment method (Moneta or credit card). In the event of selecting Moneta as method of payment, the WiFree internet access code will be displayed as the next step, while if a credit card is selected, they will be redirected to the website of their bank where the user will enter the required credit card data. Once these steps have been completed, a WiFree code will be displayed to the user. Payable internet access to WiFreeLjubljana is also already included in the set of services of the Ljubljana Tourist Card.
The next steps in the WiFreeLjubljana project
On the basis of current studies and development guidelines, the City of Ljubljana has chosen to set up a modern wireless network in the greater Ljubljana area and to create a uniform network and the interconnectivity of the legal entities that fall under its umbrella. The network will enable residents and visitors to have internet access and wireless IP-telephony, while the City of Ljubljana will host stationary IP telephony on modern infrastructure. Due to the nature of the network, great attention will be paid to the security of users and data transfer, while the modern infrastructure will be sufficiently powerful and expandable, since it will enable the rapid deployment of additional services such as internet TV, digital advertising etc.
In the second phase, the construction of a high-quality ICT network in the city will allow for the consolidation of the services of the city administration and public institutes and companies in the IT field. Part of the project includes the setting up of a so-called private city cloud, in other words the establishment of a City of Ljubljana data centre in two separate locations. This will be equipped with all necessary infrastructure and business software solutions that all of the commercial entities under the City of Ljubljana’s wing, that operate in 326 locations, will hire according to their own needs.
Simultaneously, the new infrastructure will take on the role of a uniform telecommunications network, comprising both fixed VoIP and mobile telephony. Fixed-mobile convergence between the City of Ljubljana’s legal entities will enable calls over the City’s network to be treated as internal calls and the private partner will not charge for them.