Free Wi-Fi at Suntec City
Free Wi-Fi at shopping malls around Suntec City
Singaporeans will be able to get free Wi-Fi internet at shopping malls around Suntec City this month.
The InfoComm Development Authority has set up the service to coincide with the IMF-World Bank meetings…
The IDA is confident the service is stable and Singaporeans will be able to use it during the busy IMF-World Bank meetings…
The IDA says it has doubled the capacity of the network to handle the high amount of users expected during the IMF-World Bank meetings.
But with most networks, the high amount of users can slow the Internet speeds.
The free service finishes at the end of September…
Wi-Fi access at Suntec City is an example of the tragedy of the commons. The tragedy occurs when a common-property resource is overused. For example, a lake is overfished if it is accessible to all. What does it mean to overfish a lake? In economics, to put it simply, it means that there are fishermen who fish the lake even though from a societal cost-benefit analysis they shouldn’t. The problem arises because fishermen, like most of us, only care about themselves; they decide to fish as long as the benefit of fishing, say the revenue earned from selling the fish, is greater than the private cost of fishing, say the cost of driving to the lake. But when a fisherman decides to fish he also imposes a cost on others by reducing the number of fish they can catch. This is the social cost of the decision to fish. From a societal standpoint it would be best if each fisherman decides to fish only if his benefit is greater than the sum of the private cost and social cost of his action. Since fishermen don’t count the social cost in their decision, there are too many fishing the lake.
The tragedy is solved if there is a single owner of the resource. In trying to maximize profits from the lake, the owner will choose an entry fee to the lake that takes into account all costs. The outcome will be fewer fishermen and fewer fish taken from the lake.
In the case of Wi-Fi access at Suntec City, the Wi-Fi network is the common property. Each potential network user will only consider his or her private cost and not the cost imposed on others, namely, slower download speeds for everyone. Since access to the Wi-Fi is free, there will be too many users and the download speed will be slower than if the Wi-Fi network were privately owned and managed.