Madrid adds Wi-Fi to buses

Wi-Fi in hotels in near-ubiquitous, and Wi-Fi on trains is ever-increasing, but Madrid has put itself on the map as the first city to offer free Wi-Fi connectivity on its buses.

According to travel site Typically Spanish, Madrid has been quietly equipping its municipal bus company, EMT, with Wi-Fi Internet connections as part of a system to track their locations for better scheduling and journey planning - but from tomorrow will open the system up for public use.

The service, offered under the slogan "viaja más inteligente, vive mejor" or "travel more intelligently, live better," will be completely free thanks to sponsorship by Gowex and is timed to launch as part of European Mobility Week.

All bus users will be granted access to the system, and no charge will be levied - making it an invaluable service for those who have a long journey as part of their daily commute, and especially helpful for anyone who pays through the nose for mobile data on their Wi-Fi equipped smartphone.

The connectivity offering comes as the Spanish Senate has voted in favour of a reduction in the cost of ADSL connectivity through Spain, which is currently higher than the average for the European Union. A second proposal has also been agreed which will see the country enforce a 1Mb/s minimum connection speed as part of a universal service agreement.

With projects such as this bringing Wi-Fi ever closer to blanketing the globe, could the mobile networks and their ever-so-profitable data charges be in trouble?