The Seoul Metropolitan Government has announced that it will invest 102.7 billion won ($85.8 million US) over the next three years to establish the S-Net (Smart Seoul Network) – a 4,237-km independent communication network to make free public WiFi available to citizens anywhere in the city. Currently, public WiFi service covers about 31 percent of the city, but the investment will expand that coverage to 100 percent by the year 2022.
The network can be used without relying on lines from telecommunications providers and will be outfitted with “WiFi 6″ technology to guarantee fast, stable and secure service. Its aim is to reduce communication costs for ordinary people by extending a “capillary” model of WiFi network through the living zone to serve as a smart city base. The new public WiFi is chiefly to be installed in densely populated regions, including major roads in downtown Seoul, subways, and public parks.
A total of 7,420 public WiFi access points (APs) are currently operating in central Seoul. As part of the project, the city plans to install another 16,330 APs through 2022. The city predicts savings of up to 630,000 won (US $527.60) per resident in annual communication costs once the project is finished. The amount of potential communication cost savings has been estimated at 3.88 trillion won (US $3.25 billion) per year with the use of public Wi-Fi by the 6.12 million Seoul residents.
“At a time when smartphones have become a living essential, the S-Net project will ensure basic communication rights for everyone,” said Lee Won-mok, a smart city policy official for the city of Seoul. “By providing thorough smart city infrastructure throughout the city of Seoul, we will be creating a super connected smart city where people and things are all linked to the network.”
An Internet of Things (IoT) network for use by public institutions is also being expanded throughout the city, with public services such as shared parking, smart street lights, and disappearance prevention to be made available through the use of IoT sensors.