【原文】政府自2007年起推出Wi-Fi通服务，在选定的政府场地为市民提供免费Wi-Fi服务。不过，审计署根据资科办在去年的周年服务检查结果，发现在3,087个热点中，有1,171个 (38%) 的下载速度未达承诺 ，另有10个无法建立Wi-Fi连线。政府投巨资打造的免费Wi-Fi效果令人失望，明显落后于内地和国际其他城市，完全无法适应香港建设「智慧城市」的要求。香港智慧城市的规划本已前瞻不够，实施起来又拖拖拉拉，只会令香港进一步被边缘化，政府某些部门必须革除懒政、Hea做的陋习，增强本港网络基建，避免香港被全球智慧城市的潮流淘汰。
见微知着，香港免费Wi-Fi发展不尽如人意，在相当程度上显示香港推动新科技的意识落后，对未来的把握能力和蓝图的实施能力不足，政府推动创新的决心和能力更须跟上时代的步伐，若仍抱任由市场自行运作的心态，损害的不仅是香港国际大都市的形象，更断送掉香港的未来。 （标题及小标题为编辑所加） （摘录自香港文汇报社评26-4-2018)
Public Wi-Fi is key to smart city
【译文】GovWi-Fi, introduced by the government in 2007, has been providing free wireless internet access in chosen government venues across the city. But based on the results from the annual service inspections carried out by the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer, the Audit Commission found that download speeds at 1,171 out of 3,087 (38 per cent). GovWi-Fi hotspots are below target, with another ten failing to establish any connection.
Considering that the government invested heavily on its promotion, GovWi-Fi has turned out to be a disappointment - it is inadequate in suiting the needs of Hong Kong's smart city drive, and is clearly lagging behind our counterparts in mainland China and the rest of the world. The government's plan to build a smart city is lacking in vision already. The authorities' bureaucratic practices and slow pace of action would lead to further marginalisation of Hong Kong. If we do not want to be left in the dust, the authorities must improve their performance and start building up the local network infrastructure.
GovWi-Fi slammed for slow speed
In 2008, the government invested HK$ 500 million to launch GovWi-Fi in a bid to provide free Wi-Fi to citizens and organisations. Some 3,087 Wi-Fi hotspots were built ever since, yet the connection speed of nearly 40 per cent of them fails to reach the original target. In another public-private collaboration program, Wi-Fi hotspots were planned to be built in 185 public venues. However, only 12 made it into service before the deadline.
The government also launched the Wi-Fi.HK brand in August 2014, of which 34,000 free Wi-Fi hotspots were pledged to be built by 2019 according to the 2016 policy address. Today, only around 20,000 are built. In an era of mobile connectivity, Wi-Fi networks that are speedy, ubiquitous and free of charge have become a basic necessity. It is meaningless to talk about building a smart city if even the basic infrastructure fails to meet the demands of the public.
Wi-Fi has become a basic need
It is now a trend for modern cities to provide high-quality and free public Wi-Fi networks. For many of our counterparts, Wi-Fi connections are no longer seen as a commodity. Instead, it has become a public utility just like energy and water. For instance, one can watch high-definition streaming videos or make video calls via free Wi-Fi connections anywhere in Helsinki, Finland.
On the other side of the Shenzhen River, free wireless local area network（WLAN）is now available in all public venues. In Chongqing where a 5G test network has been setup, trial users have enjoyed download speeds of over 10 gigabytes per second（Gbps）. With download speed as high as this, a two-hour movie could be downloaded within a second.
Hong Kong must catch up
In today's world, it has become an irresistible trend for cities to move towards becoming smart cities. The government did release the Smart City Blueprint for Hong Kong in December 2017, with recommendations being made in the six major areas of "Smart Mobility", "Smart Living", "Smart Environment", "Smart People", "Smart Government" and "Smart Economy".
However, the blueprint is the least forward-looking one when compared with the smart city strategies of Shenzhen and the Xiongan New Area in mainland China. Given such circumstances, how could the people of Hong Kong be confident in the blueprint if the government could not even build the infrastructure right?
As one tiny clue reveals the general situation, the perplexity of our free Wi-Fi developments to a certain extent reveals Hong Kong's lack of vision, initiative and awareness in new technologies. The government's determination and ability to promote innovation must keep pace with the times. If the government continues to cling on its laissez-faire mentality, the future of Hong Kong would be gone along with the leading position as a key metropolitan city in the world.
■ Jeffrey Tse[firstname.lastname@example.org]
1. wireless local area network（WLAN）
2. autonomous car
3. information and communications technology（ICT）
4. voice over internet protocol（VoIP）
5. 5th generation mobile network（5G）