It was announced this week by the Prime Minister that 26 parts of the country have been turned into free Wi-Fi zones. Epic news. These zones are spread out in Colombo, Kandy, Matara, Galle, Jaffna, Ratnapura, Polannaruwa and Hambantota. Here’s a breakdown of where exactly.
How It Works
We went to a hotspot at Colombo Racecourse to see how it works. First, each area has a hotspot run by someone else – in this case Dialog. So we had to look for ‘Free Wi-Fi Dialog’
- Get in the middle of the place
- Find ‘Free Wi-Fi Dialog’ or Mobitel (we assume)
- Wait for the pop-up that says Citizens Free Wi-Fi
- Click on it
- Register with your NIC and email
- This part makes no sense, you need to check your email for the password. You need to have Internet to get Internet. We checked on our phone, but if you don’t have that, just come back later. It is, however, only the first time.
Once you’re in it’s pretty slow – about 0.5 Megabits per second, compared to 10 Megabits per second on our office Dialog 4G line. This speed, however, is enough for email and some basic web browsing. It’s not good for video.
In the Fort area, there’s free Wi-Fi at Galle Face Green, the Floating Market in Pettah, the Dutch Hospital (three places whose frequent large crowds are going to be very grateful), the private and public Pettah bus stations, the Fort railway station, and the Sri Lankan Police Headquarters.
The Law College in Hulftsdorp also has free access.
In Colombo 7, the the Colombo Racecourse (yay), the Colombo Public Library and the National Museum have Wi-Fi.
Battaramulla & Dehiwala
Battaramulla and Dehiwala also have a free Wi-Fi zone each – at the Dehiwala Zoo, and for some reason at the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment.
- The Temple of the Tooth, Kandy Railway Station, Peradeniya Railway Station
- Ratnapura Museum
- Galle Railway Station, Karapitiya Hospital
- Matara Bus Stand, Matara Railway Station
- Mirijjawila Botanical Garden
- Jaffna Railway Station, Jaffna Public Library
So this is as godayata-magic as it gets. First the highways and new malls, and now this – here’s to more pleasant surprises in the future and to hoping these zones have a good internet speed.