Wi-fi spots on the rise across the board
The Malta Communications Authority (MCA) is currently working to develop a system to test that all 165 free wi-fi spots in Malta and Gozo are functioning properly on an ongoing basis.
The wi-fi spots are managed by the authority in collaboration with other entities. Presently it is up to the entities hosting the wi-fi spots to advise that a wi-fi spot is not functioning properly.
The MCA already has a system that monitors the level of usage of more than a third of the free wi-fi connections on a daily basis. Random tests are also regularly carried out by MCA staff.
The MCA told di-ve.com that presently all local councils offer at least two wi-fi spots, one at the local council premises and another at a particular public place or space. Some localities offer up to six free wi-fi spots.
Currently the authority is working with a number of different entities to increase the number of wi-fi spots by at least 10 new connections. A spokesman for the authority said this is an ongoing process, which depends on the number of entities that show interest in hosting a wi-fi hotspot. These include government ministries and departments and non-governmental organisations.
Besides the free wi-fi spots offered by the MCA, several private enterprises and establishments have taken their own initiative to provide their own wi-fi spots. These include the several hotels, cafeterias and eateries, Bay Street Shopping centre, Portomaso and the university.
The most popular wi-fi spots in Malta and Gozo are St Anne Square, Bisazza Street, Ġnien l-Indipendenza and Qui-Si-Sana in Sliema; Buġibba Square in St Paul’s Bay; Mater Dei Hospital; and the higher secondary in Naxxar.
Statistics obtained by di-ve.com show that over the past three months Mater Dei Hospital registered 20,155 users accessing its wi-fi spots; St Anne Square in Sliema registered 14,231 users and the higher secondary at Naxxar registered 9,427 users accessing it wi-fi spot.
According to a special Eurobarometer survey, the Maltese are among the highest users of social networking sites putting the 68% of the Maltese alongside 69% of Latvians and 68% of the Greeks.
74% of the Maltese compared to 89% of Lithuanians, 87% of Estonians, 85% of Latvians and 84% of Slovenians access the internet for online news, while only 45% of the French, 53% of the Irish and 55% of the British do so.
The highest figures for buying goods or services online are in Sweden (80%), Denmark (78%), the Netherlands (76%) and UK (74%). The lowest figures are in Portugal (17%), Romania (20%), Bulgaria (22%) and Hungary (22%). The Maltese rank at 63%.
As an average, 89% of the Maltese access the internet to check their email compared to 85% of the Europeans; 59% of the Maltese, compared to an EU average of 48% access the internet to do online banking; 38% of the Maltese compared to an EU average of 27% access the internet to play games, while only 11% of the Maltese compared to an EU average of 20% access the internet to sell goods.