On January 17, 2017 Panama installed 50 free wireless wi-fi internet access points at bus stops (MetroBus) all over Panama City. Smart City is a joint initiative between the Municipality of Panama, a private company – JCDecaux, and the wireless internet company Wigo. Users will be able to connect for free using all devices that connect to WiFi; such as a laptops, tablets and smart phones. They claim that using small signal amplification antennas throughout the city will provide better quality internet connections. Many of the bus stops also have digital screens where people can access a website of the Municipality of Panama to get government and event information. In the future there will be real time bus arrival information and routes, as well as nearby points of interest. The government is providing these free connectivity services to encourage use of the public transportation systems for both residents and tourists, and make internet more widely available to everyone.
The National Internet Service is known as “internet para todos”, which translates as “internet for all”. The first time you access the network, you’ll have to go to the webpage to register for a free account. You only have to do this once and your device will be recognized by the network from then on. There is more information on their website and directions on how to register your devise, in Spanish. Here is a link: Internetparatodos
According to the website (translated to English on Google): “The service allows free access to the Internet using standards-based technologies commonly available on laptops and personal computers and other devices, allowing every citizen to use the service in case of owning a computer without the need to purchase special devises for connectivity. It is remarkable the proliferation of mobile devices and its incremental in the National Internet Network, which has given many citizens the benefit of improving and / or diversifying their methods of communication and access to information.”
*There are some restrictions to the use of the free WiFi service. To protect minors from viewing inappropriate content, the Network has restrictions on sites not suitable for children. Because there is a lot of mature or unsuitable content available on YouTube and similar ‘streaming” sites, they are also blocked from users.
The 50 bus stops that currently have free wi-fi service are:
The plan is to extend the wi-fi services to all bus stops in the District of Panama. Of course, there are already lots of private restaurants, coffee shops and businesses that offer free wi-fi. Internet is becoming more accessible to everyone in the country as time goes on, especially now that the government is on board too.
Panama is looking towards the future as it positions itself
at the forefront of Smart City technology!