INTERNET ACCESS FOR VISITORS
GOV WiFi FREE INTERNET ACCESS
The Hong Kong Government GovWiFi scheme provides free wireless internet access via over 2000 hotspots at 400 locations throughout public spaces in the city including public libraries, cultural and recreational centres, museums and large parks. The facility is available for foreign visitors to use. The scheme does not extend to private or commercial buildings and is not on the same scale as some free city wide wi-fi schemes already in operation in Taipei and Singapore. The scheme, which was launched in March 2008, initially covered 35 locations was rolled out in phases with 390 hotspots being available by March 2010 and all 2000 hotspots becoming available by March 2012.
Following expiry of the service contract for the initial programme, Next Generation Government Wi-Fi (GovWiFi) was launched on 21st December 2012, under a five year contract until the end of 2017. The new programme provides several enhancements including adoption of Wi-Fi technology standard (IEEE 802.11n), which provides better signal coverage, enables faster data transfer and reduces signal interference and support for the latest Internet communication protocol (IPv6) for accessing web sites and Internet services delivered through IPv6.
Hotspots are located mainly in public libraries, government premises,
public parks and tourist locations. Tourist locations with hotspots
include Peak Road Garden, The Peak, Kowloon Park, Repulse Bay Beach,
Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza/Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, Hong Kong
Park, Hong Kong Zoological & Botanical Gardens, Statue Square,
Stanley Waterfront Mart/Promenade, Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal and
China Ferry Terminals. Under the Next Generation GovWiFi programme, the service will be extended to about 40 more locations including Golden Bauhinia Square, Wan Chai Temporary Promenade, Southorn Playground, Kwun Tong Promenade and the new cruise terminal at Kai Tak (opening mid-2013).
Since its launch, the monthly average number users of the service has increased from 20,000 to 700,000 at December 2012.
GovWiFi has two network ID's (SSIDs) "freegovwifi-e" for encrypted connection and "freegovwifi" for unencrypted connection. Users experiencing difficulty connecting to the "freegovwifi-e" encrypted connection will usually be able to connect without difficulty by searching for wireless networks and locating the unencrypted "freegovwifi" connection.
Details of locations available can be obtained from the GovWiFi website here;
Gov WiFi free internet "hotspot" at Statue Square, Central
...........and at Shatin Park
The Office of Telecommunications Authority is also making provision for broadband wireless access via Wi-Max, a much more powerful version of Wi-Fi where a single transmission tower can provide wireless Internet up to 48km away. Licences were due to be auctioned in autumn 2008 with services rolled out during the following two years although as at April 2012 no Wi-Max services were available and it appeared little progress had been mad.
Free wireless access was made available for tenants in the communal areas of about 120 public rental housing estates of the Housing Authority in January 2008.
In the meantime Broadband Internet terminals which are free to use for visitors are fairly widely available in Hong Kong at a number of locations including the following;
PUBLIC LIBRARIES (FREE FIXED INTERNET TERMINALS)
In addition to providing free wireless internet there are over 1600 fixed public access Internet terminals in public libraries available for visitors to use. Hong Kong Central Library in Causeway Bay (opposite Victoria Park) has 470 terminals with around 20 on the ground floor which visitors can reserve for either a one hour or two hour session by calling in at the library. If no terminal is immediately available advance reservations for later the same day can be made, if terminals are available, or alternatively for another day. The Central Library is open from 10am to 9pm every day except Wednesday when opening hours are 1pm to 9pm. City Hall Public Library has 87 terminals and Kowloon Public Library has 67 terminals. Opening times at most major libraries have been extended since April 2009 but some of the smaller libraries close on one day every week. Visitors can use terminals where available at any public library and the full list of libraries with public terminals is detailed below and addresses, location maps and opening times can be found here;
Additionally the following libraries also have Express Internet Terminals where no reservation is allowed and access is limited to 15 minutes to enable users to quickly check e-mails and surf the Internet;
City Hall Public Library
Kowloon Public Library
Ma On Shan Public Library
Sha Tin Public Library
Stanley Public Library
Tai Po Public Library
Tuen Mun Public Library
Tsuen Wan Public Library
Tsim Sha Tsui Public Library
MTR STATION iCENTRES (FREE INTERNET TERMINALS and FREE Wi-Fi)
The following MTR stations have "iCentres" with both free fixed Internet terminals and free Wi-Fi Internet access for mobile devices and laptops. Free wi-fi access is limited to 15 minutes per session and each elegible device is limited to 5 sessions per day;
Hong Kong Station (Concourse exit C paid area)
Central Station (Platform 3 Island Line towards Chai Wan)
Prince Edward Station (Concourse – paid area)
Wan Chai Station (Platform 1 Island Line towards Chai Wan)
Tsuen Wan Station (Concourse –paid area)
Kowloon Tong (Concourse –paid area)
Kowloon Bay (Concourse –paid area)
Causeway Bay (Concourse, exit B, C, paid area)
Quarry Bay (platform level towards station concourse exit A
Tai Koo Station
Mong Kok Station (Concourse, paid area)
Sham Shui Po Station
Kwai Fong Station
MTR iCentre, Sham Shui Po Station
PCCW FREE 60-DAY WI-FI TRIAL FOR MOBILE DEVICES
Visitors to Hong Kong can take advantage of PCCW's free 60-day Wi-Fi trial. The trial is applicable to hand-held mobile devices such as mobile phones but not laptop computers. Each device must be registered for the trial from any PCCW Wi-Fi hot spot and the trial period applies once only to each registered device. PCCW has Hong Kong's most extensive wi-fi network with over 9,000 hotspots;
MTR STATIONS (SUBSCRIPTION Wi-Fi INTERNET)
41 MTR Stations along the Island, Tsuen Wan, Kwun Tong, Tung Chung, Tsueng Kwan O and Airport Express Lines have Wi-Fi Internet access for which a paid subscription with PCCW is required. Details of stations with Wi-Fi access can be found here;
AIRPORT EXPRESS TRAIN AND STATIONS (SUBSCRIPTION Wi-Fi INTERNET ACCESS)
PCCW Wi-Fi Internet access is available on Airport Express trains. Passengers need to pay HK$20 for a 24-hour PCCW Wi-Fi Pass or HK$168 for a 30-day Unlimited PCCW Wi-Fi Pass to use this service. Passes can be purchased at 7-11 convenience stores in the airport Terminal 1 arrival hall and in Terminal 2 (unrestricted area).
All Airport Express Stations (Hong Kong, Kowloon, Airport, Tsing Yi & Asia World-Expo) have wireless broadband access for which a paid Wi-Fi subscription with PCCW is required;
BUSES (FREE Wi-Fi INTERNET ACCESS)
Free wi-fi is available on some Citybus/New World First Bus routes
Since November 2008 Citybus/New World First Bus have introduced free Wi-fi internet access on some buses on certain routes including all "Cityflyer" airport routes. The service is being gradually expanded although not all buses serving routes where wi-fi is available are equipped with wi-fi and by mid-2010 about 170 buses were equipped. Buses with Wi-fi are labelled accordingly near the entry door. The wireless network can be identified as "Webus". Routes which currently have some buses equipped with wi-fi are;
2 Grand Promenade <-> Central (Macau Ferry)
2A Yiu Tung Estate <-> Wan Chai Ferry Pier
2X Shau Kei Wan <-> Wan Chai Ferry Pier
8 Heng Fa Chuen <-> Wan Chai Ferry Pier
8P Island Resort<-> Wan Chai Ferry Pier
18 North Point Healthy St Central <-> Belcher Bay
82 Island Resort <-> North Point Ferry Pier
101 Kennedy Town <-> Kwun Tong (Yue Man Square)
104 Kennedy Town <-> Pak Tin Estate
106 Siu Sai Wan (Island Resort) <-> Wong Tai Sin
111 Central (Macau Ferry) <-> Ping Shek Estate
112 North Point (Pak Fuk Road) <-> So Uk Estate
113 Choi Hung <-> Belcher Bay
116 Quarry Bay (Yau Man Street) <-> Tsz Wan Shan (Central)
590 South Horizons <-> Exchange Square
590A South Horizons <-> Admiralty MTR Station (East)
601 Po Tat Estate <-> Admiralty MTR Station
680 Admiralty MTR Station (East) <-> Lee On Estate
682 Chai Wan (East) <-> Lee On Estate
701 Hoi Lai Estate <-> Mong Kok
702 Hoi Lai Estate <-> Sham Shui Po (Yen Chow Street)
722 Yiu Tung Estate <-> Central Ferry Pier 3
792M Tiu Keng Leng MTR Station <-> Sai Kung
904 Nob Hill <-> Belcher Bay
905 Nob Hill <-> Wan Chai Ferry Pier
970 Cyberport <-> So Uk
970X Aberdeen <-> So Uk
"CITYFLYER" AIRPORT ROUTES A10, A11, A12, A21, A22 & A29
PACIFIC COFFEE COMPANY (FREE TERMINALS AND PCCW SUBSCRIPTION Wi-Fi ACCESS)
Pacific Coffee have 50 shops throughout Hong Kong (including two at the airport) which have Internet terminals for customers use free of charge. The number of terminals at each shop varies from one to about six. There is no time limit unless all terminals are occupied in which case customers are requested to limit use to 15 minutes if others are waiting and a 15-minute timer is located next to each terminal which can be set by waiting customers.
A full list of shops, locations and opening times can be found here;
PCCW wi-fi internet access is also available at Pacific Coffee but is not free to use.
Pacific Coffee free Internet terminal
Y5ZONE FREE WI-FI HOTSPOTS AT STARBUCKS, MCDONALDS, PRET A MANGER, UA CINEMAS, VISTASOY VENDING MACHINES AND WILSON PARKING (LIMITED FREE WI-FI) AND SHOPPING MALLS
Y5Zone provides limited free wi-fi access for Starbucks, McDonalds, McCafe, Pret a Manger, UA Cinemas, Wilson Parking and at a number of Vitasoy drinks vending machines. Unlimited free wi-fi access is available at a small number of McDonalds branches such as Internet access is not usually available some small outlets such as kiosks. To take advantage of free wi-fi it is necessary to complete a short simple (three or four question) online questionnaire. After the free period has expired, further access can be gained at a charge of HK$5 per hour by sending SMS text to Y5Zone for user name and password.
The free wi-fi period is currently;
MCDONALD'S AND MCCAFE - 20 to 30 minutes per day (varies between branches)
STARBUCKS - 20 minutes per day
PRET A MANGER - 60 minutes per day
UA CINEMAS - 20 minutes per day
VITASOY DRINKS VENDING MACHINES, selected machines only, which can be identified by a Y5Zone free wi-fi label on the front of the cabinet. Range is about 30-metres around the machine - 20 minutes per day
WILSON PARKING (certain car parks only) - unlimited
Y5Zone also provides free, unlimited wi-fi at the following shopping malls;
IFC MALL (Central District), THE ONE (Tsim Sha Tsui), EAST POINT CITY (Tseung Kwan O), GRAND CENTURY PLACE (Mongkok), HARBOUR CENTRE (Wan Chai), METROPLAZA (Kwai Chung) , NEW TOWN PLAZA (Sha Tin), WORLD TRADE CENTRE (Causeway Bay), FIRST FERRY CENTRAL PIERS 5 &6 AND CHEUNG CHAU AND MUI WO FERRY PIERS.
Customers can also subscribe to available paid wi-fi networks at these outlets and PCCW wi-fi network is widely available.
Many Vitasoy drinks vending machines are Y5Zone 20-minute, free wi-fi hotspots. Range is about 30-metres and machines equipped with wi-fi can be identified by the Y5Zone label on the cabinet door
HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (FREE PCCW Wi-Fi AND FIXED TERMINALS)
Complimentary wi-fi internet access provided by Apple is available throughout Hong Kong International Airport. There are also 56 free fixed internet terminals at 28 locations in the airside Departures Level of Terminal 1 and a further 6 fixed terminals , airside, at the Departures Level of North Satellite Concourse. The airport also has 256 free charging points at 71 locations either at seating areas or adjacent to public phones from Level 4 to 7 of Terminal 1 and Level 5 of North Satellite Concourse.
In addition to free wi-fi throughout Hong Kong International Airport, there are also 62 free fixed internet terminals located in the departure areas
FREE INTERNET ACCESS - OTHER LOCATIONS
Many large shopping malls have either free Internet terminals/free wi-fi hotspots or both including Times Square and Windsor House in Causeway Bay, IFC Mall in Central, Peak Galleria, Harbour City and The One in Tsim Sha Tsui, Grand Century Place in Mongkok, Harbour Centre in Wanchai, World Trade Centre in Causeway Bay, New Town Plaza in Sha Tin, East Point City at Tseung Kwan O, Metroplaza at Kwai Chung and Citygate Outlets, Tung Chung (30 mins PCCW free wi-fi).
Some Uncle Russ Coffee bars including the ones at Central Ferry Pier 6 (for Mui Wo/Peng Chau), Central Pier 3 (for Discovery Bay) and Star Ferry Pier Tsim Sha Tsui have one or more Internet terminals for customer use.
Mix juice bars have free internet access.
The Peak Galleria - unlimited free wi-fi access.
NWFF (New World First Ferry) have made 20 minutes free wi-fi with Y5Zone available at Central Ferry Piers 5 (for ferries to Cheung Chau) and at Cheung Chau Ferry Pier.
40-minutes free PCCW wi-fi access throughout Discovery Bay and on Discovery Bay ferries.
Hong Kong Jockey Club provide free wi-fi access at Happy Valley and Shatin Racecourses. For details see;
Sky 100 - 30 minutes free wi-fi access at observation deck on 100th floor, International Commerce Centre (ICC), West Kowloon
Ngong Ping 360 cable car terminals at Tung Chung and Ngong Ping and throughout Ngong Ping Village.
Some hotels provide complimentary in-room wireless internet access for guests.
PRE - PAID WI-FI INTERNET ACCESS
PCCW have over 9000 wireless hotspots throughout Hong Kong including all Starbucks and Pacific Coffee outlets, most MTR platforms, concourses and Airport Express, all 7-Eleven and Circle K outlets and over 1000 PCCW phone booths (see below) from which a wi-fi signal is usually available within about 100-metres radius. PCCW pre-paid wi-fi passes are available allowing unlimited wi-fi access with a 24-hour pass costing HK$20 or a 30-day pass costing HK$158 and will represent good value for many visitors Passes can be purchased at PCCW shops and many convenience stores;
ONLINE SEARCH ENGINE FOR REGISTERED WI-FI ACCESS POINTS
The Hong Kong Government's Office of the Telecommunications Authority (OFTA) maintains a search engine for all registered wi-fi access points in Hong Kong. Searches can be made by name of service provider, geographical district and area;