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Project to Bring Wireless Internet to Public Places

Visitors to 50 spots around Costa Rica, including the Costa Rican Art Museum and National Library in San José, will be able to instantly connect their laptop computers to the Internet, thanks to a project called CR inalámbrica (Costa Rica Wireless) launched this week.

A collaborative effort between the nonprofit Costa Rican Foundation for Sustainable Development and the computer company Cisco Systems Costa Rica, the project seeks to “democratize” the Internet by making it accessible to more people, explained the foundation’s Director Juan Barrios during an inauguration ceremony Tuesday at San José’s National Culture Center (CENAC), one of the spots chosen for the project.

Other sites selected include academic institutions such as Universidad Nacional (UNA) in Heredia, north of San José; commercial centers such as Paseo de las Flores Mall in Heredia and Multiplaza Escazú in Escazú, west of San José; public buildings such as the San JoséMunicipality and health centers such as San José’s San Juan de Dios Hospital.

“We want the public to have free access to the Internet,” Barrios said. “This is the only way we can stay on top of issues facing us in today’s growing world, like globalization.”

Cisco Systems Costa Rica donated the equipment to provide wireless Internet connectivity in these 50 sites, each of which will be responsible for paying its own Internet bill.

Additionally, each site will be responsible for providing security to computer users. All 50 sites chosen are enclosed spaces with their own security guards with the exception of the open-air Plaza de la Cultura, Barrios said. There, security guards from the nearby Central Bank Museums and additional private security guards will be stationed to prevent theft.

Wireless Internet services have already been installed in five of the sites selected and will be installed in the remaining 45 sites within the next two months, Barrios said.



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