Recently I had some colleagues of mine visit from Singapore â€“ at our Khayaban-e-Itthehad office, there is a cafÃ© right next to us, called â€œThe Second Floorâ€ (its an amazing place, I highly encourage everyone to visit it).
Most of the time â€“ my esteemed colleagues preferred spending their time in the cafÃ©, due to three factors (a) coffee (b) ambience and (c) free Wifi.
Its the free Wifi issue that irks me a lot. Why is it that in Karachi we have not been able to have more and more free Wifi spots?
Why is it that no one has taken initiatives for establishing even municipal wifi communities?
Everybody is protecting their bandwidth so feverishly â€“ and rightly so â€“ there are plenty of bandwidth pirates who would want to hijack or piggyback on your wifi connection. But bandwidth is getting cheaper by the day â€“ could anyone here have imagined paying Rs. 5,000 for a 2MB connection? I certainly did not. I was a very happy camper when the Rs. 5,000 for 1MB deal came out.
The 2MB upgrade simply was not on my radar.
In the days to come, I am sure, bandwidth will get more cheaperâ€¦ so if that is the case, how come we still have very few wifi hotspots around. I first assumed that there wasnâ€™t any wifi available at Karachi airport, but then found out Cybernet does indeed operate over there, but you either need an account or as some have sworn, that its free. I tried connecting to it â€“ to no avail.
But what about other places? No â€“ not coffee shops â€“ thatâ€™s pretty much a given. What about buildings? None of the buildings have it – not that you can find a building to sit in/under. The hotels charge Rs. 100 per hour for wifi â€“ that still sucks!!! What is even more amazing, almost none of the hotels in Karachi have in-room wifi (to be equally fair, many hotels outside of Pakistan also don’t have wifi in the rooms)
Sea View flats, or other flats in Gulshan or Clifton, or PECHS â€“ no one seems to be offering wifi. There is no free wifi in any of the malls. Which really sucks!
What does it take to share bandwidth? Meraki came out with the answer. Go to their website and read more about it â€“ I just feel, if we were to invest on a small community / municipality level to build wifi networks, we will see a whole new market developing.