Free wireless Internet is being introduced in two new parks in Qatar as part of the iParks initiative of the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology. The communities in Shahaniya and Umm Slal are now able to take advantage of free, high-speed connectivity while enjoying the beautiful parks. With both parks being officially launched today, 27th of May 2014 on the sidelines of the 3rd edition of Qatar ICT Conference and Exhibition “QITCOM 2014”, there will now be nine iParks across Qatar.
The iParks initiative, launched in 2007 in collaboration with the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning (MMUP), has seen a steady increase in users in the current seven iParks. Numbers of users benefiting from free Wi-Fi access in public parks tripled over the past three years. Now iParks have an over 14,000 unique users per month, exceeding 60,000 sessions, and 450 unique users each day.
The ICT Ministry has worked in collaboration with the Public Parks Department of the MMUP on the iParks project as part of its commitment to connect the people of Qatar to the technologies that can enrich their lives.
“iParks initiative was launched in 2007. The success witnessed has led us to expand the service in more public parks out of Doha, and here we are today witnessing an extension of this service to the Shahaniya and Umm Slal parks with the support of the Public Parks Department of the MMUP, bringing the total number of iParks to 9. Residents of Al Rayan Municipality and Umm Slal Municipality will now enjoy free, high-speed Internet connection”, said Reem Al-Mansoori, Executive Director, ICT & Society, the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology.
“The big turnout on the service from people who strive to balance between work and leisure time, as well as those who lack internet connection at home, encouraged us to expand the scoop of the service to more areas outside of Doha,” she noted.
Mohammed El-Khoori, Director of the MMUP’s Public Parks Department, said: “As part of our strategy to deliver more public spaces and parks that meet international standards and attract users from all sectors of society, we dedicate our children with the latest in children play and educational equipment. Teenagers can stay in shape by visiting our sports field provided in most of our parks. Parents and elders, as well, can enjoy jogging tracks and outdoor fitness for their well-being.”
“On top of that,” he continued, “We have been working closely with the Ministry of Information Communications Technology to provide free WiFi in our public parks. Today we are mostly proud of iParks, this initiative launched by the Public Parks Department in collaboration with ICT Ministry that has risen the level of attention and attraction to our parks and made them on top of the destinations for local and expats families. We are thankful for this success and with all efforts added we always look forward for better to come.”
The bilateral work is to continue toward further expansion of the initiative to include new iParks in the coming years. Qatar aims to have majority of its public parks and public places connected to wireless Internet by 2015. The current iParks in Doha are Rumaila, Sheraton and Dahl Al-Haman parks, and there are also iParks in Dukhan, Simaisma, Al-Wakrah and Corniche Al-Khor.
Visitors to the iParks follow a simple registration and authentication process to access the WiFi in each park, with access information available in both Arabic and English.
In today’s announcement, the service is made easier as smartphones can now access the free Wi-Fi with an SMS logon system.
The iParks’ wireless connection is completely secure with an authentication process providing users with a secure PIN code sent by text once they register for the service. Users can get technical support if needed through the government call center on 44069955.
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