New legislation: Municipalities may now offer free WiFi to tourists 

Municipalities are now able to offer free WiFi to international tourists in the public open space, but only via hot spots and for max. one hour per day per device. Section 60 b of the Telecommunications Act will come into force on 1 July 2015.

On 16 December 2014, the Ministry of Business and Growth submitted the draft bill for consultation. The bill contained a new section 60 b making it possible for municipalities to offer free WiFi to international tourists in the public open space via hot spots and for max. one hour per day per device.

The bill was adopted on 26 May 2015. The final act does not resolve all the uncertainties of the bill. For more information on the bill, see the article Der er håb for de intelligente byer.

UNCERTAINTIES

The act applies to all areas relevant for international tourists. The act does not specify when an area is characterised as an international "tourist area". In a consultation memo from the Ministry of Business and Growth, it is noted that, in practice, it will be impossible to distinguish between international tourists and Danish citizens. It is for the municipalities to evaluate and target the offer to the locations most relevant for international tourism.

Further, it is still uncertain when a hotspot is so wide  that it is considered a coherent network falling outside the scope of section 60 b. Neither the act nor the consultation memo answers this question.

FREE ACCESS FOR ONE HOUR PER DAY PER DEVICE

But one specification has been made in section 60 b since the bill. It has been added that the offer includes free access for one hour per day per device. In the consultation memo, importance is attached to the fact that international tourists often have access to WiFi on several locations, e.g. at hotels, in cafés, etc., and that the new rule is only a supplement to additional access to WiFi.

EXCESS CAPACITY

It appears from section 60 b (2) that municipalities must buy WiFi access from a private provider. However, it is noted in the consultation memo that municipalities - by means of the rules governing municipal government - may sell any excess capacity to a private provider, including as part of the municipality's purchase of WiFi to tourist areas.   

ONE STEP TOWARDS THE INTELLIGENT CITY

With section 60 b, municipalities have been provided with the opportunity to offer free WiFi to international tourists,  which access, however, is still considered somewhat narrow. Nonetheless, it is still a step towards the creation of more intelligent cities.

Section 60 b will come into force on 1 July 2015.

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