Here’s one more reason to love Amsterdam, already one of the greatest cities on the planet: It’s about to become one big Wi-Fi melting pot.
Buzzed-about Stockholm startup Instabridge, makers of a free app that lets users locate and automatically connect to everything from their friends’ networks to public ones hosted by cafés and bars, all without entering passwords, has announced that residents of and visitors to the Randstad region of the Netherlands will now enjoy stable, uninterrupted access to Wi-Fi through 300 individual hotspots.
“Finding and using Wi-Fi has not changed for the past 10 years. Our goal with Instabridge is to get people connected to quality Wi-Fi networks more easily and more often,” said CEO Niklas Agevik. “As mobile data becomes increasingly expensive and consumers get subscriptions with limited data capacity, finding and using quality Wi-Fi networks gets more and more important,” a company statement noted, especially as some 80 percent of users prefer to browse on their phones via Wi-Fi. The app is intended to save battery life as well as money.
Instabridge won the Best International Startup prize at the 2013 LAUNCH Festival in San Francisco, and with such a simple but long overdue idea, it’s not difficult to see why. As Swedish Startup Space pointed out, patching together Amsterdam is just the beginning—they’ll be getting contracts around the globe, “most likely partnering up with Telco companies looking to reduce the strain on the networks, but of course to lock customers into their hotspots too.”
Is there a downside? Perhaps just this: “I couldn’t get a WiFi signal” was our last, most feeble excuse for not answering an email right away. We’ll be sorry to see it go.
Photo by Mike Goldberg/Flickr