Free WiFi: ‘yay’ or nay?

This service will help people stay connected, but what about other problems?

Shanza Rashid

 April 24, 2016

Have you ever imagined how it would be if there were free WiFi hotspots everywhere in Pakistan? Undoubtedly, life would become easier in many ways, as we would always be connected to our loved ones. Today, everyone — be it a kid or a grownup — is addicted to internet. We can attain information in a matter of seconds with the help of World Wide Web. The Punjab Information Technology Board chairman had promised, earlier this month, to provide free WiFi to the public in Lahore. In this way, people can stay connected easily.

Free WiFi service is available at 115 public places in Lahore, which includes 12 parks and 17 market places as well as metro bus stations and educational institutions. The city railway station and airport also benefit from this facility, but will all this help in the long term? Providing the public with access to free WiFi everywhere will make them slaves to technology, no less. This service will help people stay connected, but what about other problems? There are always pros and cons of everything in this world. For example, during various religious days of significance, mobile services are blocked so that terrorists are unable to coordinate attacks.

The provision of free WiFi service, however, will make it really easy for them to communicate and then there will be no point left in shutting down the mobile service. Also, having a free non-stop WiFi connection can cause your mobile device to lose battery-power rapidly. Since wireless connections consume more power, this will result in an increased drainage of one’s mobile battery.

Furthermore, just how ‘free’ are these free WiFi spots? The government will have to set up infrastructures across the entire city and all this will require a lot of funds, which means there will be a rise in different forms of taxes. So, in the end, it really isn’t free. Having free WiFi provision sounds really good and it also seems like a step towards the betterment of our nation, as WiFi has become a basic necessity for everyone. However, one should always think critically about the decisions being undertaken by our government if we really want any real improvement in our country’s public policy decisions.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 25th,  2016.

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