WBA OpenRoaming Combined Network, Spanning All Nine Islands of The Azores & Freeing Users from the Need to Log In
The Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) announced that the Azores Islands Government and Tetrapi SA, local services company, are implementing OpenRoaming Wi-Fi hotspots throughout its nine-island autonomous region, representing the largest outdoor deployment of OpenRoaming to date. The Azores’ Government Director of Communications and executives from Tetrapi and the WBA gave presentations and demonstrations of the live network at an event held at Tetrapi SA corporate office in Ponta Delgada on 21st April.
Users will be able to benefit from more than 250 planned OpenRoaming Wi-Fi hotspots. Tourists, citizens, first responders and other users will stay securely connected across hundreds of indoor and outdoor venues such as hotels, airports, schools, public gardens, beaches, pools, libraries, sports pavilions, museums, government buildings, plazas, marinas and tourist offices.
To begin using OpenRoaming, Azores citizens, tourists and other users accept the terms and conditions, and they are online. All end user devices that support Passpoint are supported, including, Samsung, Apple and Google phones. They simply select OpenRoaming in the network options or use a straightforward one-time provisioning portal to be automatically connected. Whenever their device is within range of an OpenRoaming hotspot, it will automatically and securely connect — no login required.
The nine islands of The Azores, with a population of 250,000, occupy a strategic position in the mid-Atlantic. As an archipelago of beautiful islands, they have a significant tourism industry as well as tea paddies and vineyards. Over one million visitors a year visit and island hop throughout their stay.
The first phase of implementation includes a broad network provided by the Azores government that spans the nine islands, public networks and some public facilities. The largest education institution and enterprise offices in the city centre are also part of the enablement. Phase two is being scoped and is planned to cover ferry terminals that receive large cruise ships, the local ferries doing hops between islands, large local hotel chains and airports, realizing the final vision of holistic coverage.
WBA OpenRoaming, currently available at over 3 million hotspots worldwide, frees users from the need to constantly re-register or re-enter log-in credentials — all while maintaining enterprise-grade security and privacy. The WBA OpenRoaming standard also enables enterprises, device OEMs, service providers and others to provide performance guarantees and — with Wi-Fi 6 and 6E — a carrier-grade experience as users roam between different public/private Wi-Fi realms.
By making it easier for people to get and stay connected, WBA OpenRoaming maximizes Wi-Fi’s benefits for society across the Azores:
- With OpenRoaming, residents and visitors can easily connect to secure Wi-Fi networks across the city, regardless of identity provider, either regional or international, providing a unique set of data that can improve islands and cities flows and services.
- OpenRoaming can help cities attract more visitors and businesses that need continuous, secure access to reliable, high-performance broadband — including on buses, taxis and ferries. For example, automatically connecting to an OpenRoaming hotspot avoids the security risk of using spoofed access points. Reliable connectivity also makes it easier for tourists to get bus schedules and maps, step-by-step navigation and other location-based information wherever they go.
- OpenRoaming can improve public safety by, for example, ensuring that firefighters and other first responders can quickly access building plans, fire hydrant locations and other critical information.
- Castanheiro, the largest private school on the island, will be the location for one of the hotspots, providing synergies and efficiencies for the staff managing its IT by reducing unnecessary administration time. The school has now begun to use immersive learning experiences for pupils, improving the quality of education via interactivity.
- In future the city could use the network to support IoT applications such as local weather sensors and traffic cameras should the need arise.
Launched in May 2020, the WBA OpenRoaming standard is now in Release 3, which makes the business and commercial aspects of roaming easier than ever by minimizing hundreds of hours of legal and administrative time when establishing roaming settlement agreements. Release 4 will become available later this summer.
Tiago Rodrigues, CEO of the Wireless Broadband Alliance, said: “The Azores is a model for how governments and the private sector can collaborate to provide secure, reliable, high-performance Wi-Fi broadband. By implementing WBA OpenRoaming across more than 250 hotspots on all nine islands, the Azores are making it quick and easy for every citizen and tourist to get and stay connected at airports, marinas, schools, plazas and more.”
Pedro Batista, Director of Communications at Azores Government said: “OpenRoaming across the Azores marks a new window of opportunity for better mobility, inclusiveness and security for citizens and tourists alike. We expect this to boost the Azores economy and put us on the map as a digital first destination for all.”
João Camara, President at Tetrapi said: “Now, from the moment someone sets foot on the islands, they have access to high-speed internet to enhance their digital experiences. Whether they be residents, tourists, businesses or school pupils, not only will their connection will be safe, secure and reliable, but they will be connected without interruption. Tetrapi is ready to support partners on their evolution to seamless and secure wireless journeys going forward.”