What’s the first thing you’re inclined to do in these situations – waiting for food or drink at a café or restaurant, killing time before your flight is called for boarding, waiting for your bus or train to arrive, passing time at your hotel. A generation ago, the most common answer may have been ‘take out a book’. Nowadays, it’s likely that many people in those scenarios will go immediately to the list of available WiFi networks to go online and browse social media, play games or read up on the news.
We live in an era where WiFi in public places has made the leap from luxury to expectation. Even when people go into a bar, some might seek out the WiFi password before showing any interest in buying a drink. We are at a stage where the absence of WiFi in a public building would be reason enough for some to leave a negative assessment on TripAdvisor and other review sites.
Across Europe, public WiFi access has grown 550% since 2013, with countries such as Italy, Norway and Austria enjoying seismic increases in public WiFi zones over the last five years. However, there are still plenty of regions where high-speed public WiFi remains a pipe dream. Many countryside regions in the west of Ireland, for instance, continue to lament the absence of this resource in their locality, despite numerous governmental promises about its provision.
This infographic from Paradyn gives a strong overview of the prevalence of public WiFi across Europe and how vastly it has grown, even though the data might not be 100% accurate as the data refers to research from just under two years ago. Nonetheless, great strides continue to be made towards comprehensive public WiFi throughout the whole continent.