"Historically, spectrum has been managed by telecoms and broadcast regulators, who have treated it as a scarce resource requiring control and regulation. Technological innovations and more efficient usage, however, have led some to question the scarcity of spectrum, and even to suggest that spectrum should no longer be regulated at all (or only minimally regulated).
"Unlicensed Spectrum: A more typical regulatory response has been to deregulate portions of the spectrum. In particular, a growing number of countries, building on ITU recommendations, have de-licensed portions of the spectrum (notably the 2.4 GHz range) to facilitate the spread of Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi), Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMax), and other radio technologies. Such actions hold great potential for the spread of the Internet. As noted by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan: 'With considerable speed and without enormous investments, [such technologies] can facilitate access to knowledge and information, for example by making use of unlicensed radio spectrum to deliver cheap and fast Internet access.'
"[UNDP-APDIP's Open Regional Dialogue on Internet Governance, ORDIG] has encountered near consensus on the need for de-licensing of certain frequencies, particularly those required for Wi-Fi and WiMax...
"Recommendations on Wireless: ORDIG supports countries adopting spectrum management regimes that embrace unlicensed spectrum and encourage the spread of Wi-Fi, WiMax, and other emerging radio technologies..."
To see a brief summary of a country's WiFi rules in the box below, put your mouse inside the country's borders on the map at left.
For more detailed information about radio regulation in a particular country, click on the country in the map. Use the "Country pages" selector in the left column for places not visible in the map (e.g. East Timor, Hong Kong, New Zealand, etc.).
"Wi-Fi gets onboard Asia's trains," by Isabelle Chan, ZDNet Asia, 22 June 2007: "Wireless internet services, currently available on Japan's Tsukuba Express, are slowly making their way onto other public train networks in Asia. Chris Koeneman, senior vice president of wireless technology provider Colubris Networks, said that his company has clinched a deal to provide Wi-Fi services to commuters in the waiting and boarding areas of Hong Kong's Mass Transit Railway (MTR) system. Koeneman said MTR, which serves more than 2.4 million passengers daily, will be looking at, firstly, providing its commuters with an onboard internet connection and, subsequently, the implementation of wireless video surveillance. Colubris wireless LAN (WLAN) access points will be deployed in all 51 MTR subway stations by the end of the year. Singapore's public trains could also be equipped with Wi-Fi capabilities..."