Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tech Column: Where to Find Free Wifi in DC

There are lots of free wifi locations in the District of Columbia, including DC's public libraries and most recently the National Mall.  For a map of DC's free wifi hot spots, dubbed DC Wifi, visit the DC Government's website.

DC's hot spots aren't the only free wifi game in town. Numerous coffee shops (including all Starbucks), restaurants, bookstores and other places have free wifi. There are several directories that list free wifi locations in DC and elsewhere, including JiWire (which also lists paid locations), Wi-FiHotSpotList, and OpenWiFiSpots.

Yelp also has a list of cafes in the DC area that sport wifi, along with other useful information, such as "Is the food any good?"  And coming soon to DC's Bloomingdale neighborhood is wifi everywhere, which will give all neighborhood residents free wifi. Slowly, but steadily wifi is blooming.

If you're out and about and think you want wifi on the go, get a wifi location app for your smartphone. Soon, I hope, whenever a tourist visits any major city in the world, they'll have free wifi available so people can search, surf and Skype -- and not rack up gigantic cell phone bills. International cellular roaming is off-the-scale expensive: It's not uncommon to hear about people who get socked with $10,000+ cell phone bills after returning from abroad. Meanwhile, be sure to tell all your tourist friends, especially those visiting from other countries, about DC's free wifi map. You may save your friends enough money for them to thank you by taking you out for dinner.

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