Cyprus' digital champion Stelios Chimonas has drawn up a plan to create dozens of small areas of 20,000 to 25,000 squares metres throughout Cyprus where quick, wireless internet will be available free of charge.
Under the plan "Creation of Zones of Free Access to the Internet in Selected Areas of Cyprus", the necessary facilities will be created in selected areas.
These include town and village squares, beaches, archaeological sites, monuments and other areas which attract a large number of people to offer free wireless access to the internet.
Visitors and permanent residents in the 'hot spots' will have unrestricted access to the internet but some restrictions will be imposed on the use of specific applications which may require a lot of broadband and affect other users. The aim also is to protect of users from accessing pages with porn or with viruses.
"The benefits that result from the implementation of this project are multiple and multi-dimensional and contribute both to the short term and long term needs of the economy of Cyprus and society more generally," says the proposal.
More specifically the proposal is expected to help in the further development and upgrading of selected areas in the towns as well as tourism and the further promotion of the cultural heritage of Cyprus.
A Wifi network will be installed at every hot spot of free access with one or more access points if necessary to ensure satisfactory coverage.
All or part of the equipment, depending on the total number of hot spots can be the same as that of Hellas Sat that was used by the Communications Ministry to offer satellite internet to rural areas in the period 2008-2009.
A few months ago, the ministry decided to terminate the provision of free internet to remote communities and schools through this scheme.
Quick broadband connections will be purchased from providers for every hot spot, something which lifts the objections of providers to plans for free internet in those areas.
Chimonas proposes that decisions on the location of these hot spots should be taken in cooperation with the local authorities and organisations such as the Department of Antiquities, the Archbishopric, the CTO and others.
Once the needs have been identified tenders will be invited to buy broadband connections so as to ensure the best prices. The tender invitations will accept bids for all or some of the hot spots, giving various providers the opportunity to participate, depending on their coverage.