Moscow online 24/7: Wi-Fi development

Moscow online 24/7: Wi-Fi development
On the World Wi-Fi Day, let us tell you about the history of the urban Wi-Fi network and its expected development.

One of the world's largest city-wide Wi-Fi networks has been deployed in Moscow. Moscow residents and tourists may take advantage of more than 16,000 free Wi-Fi hotspots around the city. You can stay in touch with your family and friends, study, work or watch films. The Moscow Department of Information Technology tells about Wi-Fi penetration in the city.

An alternative to cellular communication

In 2012, the Moscow Government started to develop a city digital infrastructure, with 'Urban Wi-Fi Project' launched. Wi-Fi was intended to become an alternative to cellular communication.

Bike line on Frunzenskaya Embankment was the first to get Wi-Fi hotspots. About 2.2 km of open space was to be covered with Wi-Fi. The project was complicated by the fact that the embankment houses the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, since you can't install hotspots on its facades. To build a network, satellite radio link-ups with narrow-band antennas were set up to cover a specific area. Despite the difficulties and the need to coordinate all stages, the project was implemented in three weeks. You may still enjoy Wi-Fi on this bike lane with its 31 hotspots. And in 2016, it was decided to connect Vorobyovskaya Embankment to the Internet, too.

Sokolniki, Tsaritsyno and Kolomenskoye parks where the next to have urban Wi-Fi networks,  with all the necessary infrastructure set up in 2013, during their reconstruction. On the City Day of 2016, VDHKh got its wireless network, too. Today the network is available in 41 parks, with more than 1,200 hotspots.

In 2016, it was decided to include the area of the Moscow universities' hostels in the project. Previously, students had to pay for Internet connection. Free Wi-Fi was an additional step of the Moscow Government to support young people.

This part of the project was one of the most large-scale ones. By the end of 2016, 70 percent of hostels had hot spots. To date, free city Wi-Fi is available at 151 hostels of 30 universities, which is more than 8,100 hotspots.

In 2016, it was decided to cover the Central Moscow streets with Wi-Fi network, too. Relevant work started in Tverskaya Street and Tverskoi and Tsvetnoi boulevards. On the occasion of the City Day in 2016, 200 hotspots were set up, with another 910 arranged by the end of the year.

Besides, since 2016, all Moscow surface transport, metro and the Moscow Central Ring, commuter trains and Aeroexpress trains have MT FREE network. Also, you are free to connect at the most popular surface transport stops located at the metro stations, bus stations, railway platforms and other facilities. 2.5 million people take advantage of a unified Wi-Fi network in Moscow transport every day.

In 2017, city Wi-Fi appeared in 80 culture centres and 21 libraries. With free Wi-Fi, libraries have become not only a place to read books, but also leisure centres to work in co-workings, attend clubs and creative meetings.

Wi-Fi today

More than 16,000 Wi-Fi hotspots have already been installed in Moscow, with about 4,000 of them available in the streets inside Sadovoye Koltso and locally within the Third Ring Road. Enjoy 1,200 wireless hotspots installed in 41 Moscow parks, connect to more than 8,000 points in University hostels.

334 libraries, 199 culture centres, 16 city museums, 13 Moskino network cinemas have now free Wi-Fi. In total, social and cultural facilities have almost 3,500 hotspots.

In 2019, seamless Wi-Fi roaming is expected to launch in Moscow. For this purpose, a single operator has been defined to collect all existing hotspots into a unified Wi-Fi space.

Thanks to this, you will be able to connect to free city Internet without re-authorisation. A centralised support service will be created for technical support of Moscow residents. So the users will no longer need to search for contacts of different operators to report a problem.

You may call the unified service to leave a feedback about the network, ask questions and propose development suggestions.

Today the most popular places to connect to Wi-Fi are Tverskaya Street, Manezhnaya Square, Teatralny Proyezd, Arbat Street, Sokolniki Park,  Kolomenskoye Museum Reserve, Poklonnaya Gora, Museon Park and  Neskuchny Garden. According to the Department of Information Technology, more than 2.2 million unique users have connected to the Moscow Wi-Fi system since the beginning of 2019.