São Paulo city to resume public Wi-Fi expansion

A new tender aims to double the number of connectivity spots by 2020 and reduce cost to the taxpayer.

The city of São Paulo is launching a tender today (23) for companies wanting to enter public-private partnerships for the expansion of public Wi-Fi provision.

Some 120 public Wi-Fi spots are currently available across the megalopolis of 12 million inhabitants. The idea is to at least double that number by 2020.

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The first tender for public Internet provision was launched back in 2013 as part of a series os projects aimed at improving infrastructure for tourists ahead of the World Cup and the Olympic Games.

The next stage of the project wants to provide Wi-Fi in spaces such as libraries, public markets and cultural centers. Earlier this year, the administration had mentioned the goal was to expand the network to 500 spots, but that number has since been reduced by half.

With the new tender, the São Paulo City Hall will be looking to reduce the cost of the services to the taxpayer - currently 10 million reais ($2.6 million) a year - and increase private investment with advantages to the winning bidder such as the ability to do digital marketing campaigns with the public Internet users.

The City Hall also runs a network of 132 public Internet access centers, the "telecenters". These are undergoing a review to reflect the changes in how people work and use technology - the creation of public cowering spaces is one of the possibilities being considered.