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Moscow Metro to Get Wi-Fi in 2012

Internet surfing and e-mailing should be possible while riding the metro starting next year, as the city plans to roll out wireless web access, City Hall said Tuesday.

"The idea behind the project is simple — we want people to be able to use their normal communication channels regardless of where they are in the city," said Yelena Novikova, a spokeswoman for the city's information technology department.

"Also, don't forget the Moscow metro system is complex, and the Internet can help people figure out where they are and how to get where they need to go."

City authorities are determined to make Moscow's public transport system as attractive and comfortable as possible, and public hot spots helped in this respect, Novikova added.

The installation of underground wireless Internet would be another major step in building up Moscow's already impressive wireless infrastructure. Free Wi-Fi is already available on some of the capital's buses, in hospitals and in Gorky Park. A hundred city schools are due to have free Wi-Fi installed in the coming year.

Novikova declined to comment on exactly how the initiative would be financed, but said that one of the business models being considered would be to place certain limitations on the free Internet access — either in terms of time spent online, limits on download size or access to resources.

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