Everybody here in Taiwan knows that 7-Eleven has a really good thing going. It’s hard to walk more than a block without running into one…sometimes, they’re directly across the street from each other. Recently, I discovered a very cool program that 7-Eleven offers: free wi-fi!
Now, as we all know, freedom isn’t exactly free; you’re going to have to jump through a few hoops. The main site to access 7-Eleven’s Wi-Fi (run by FarEasTone) is http://www.7-11.com.tw/event/127wifi/index.htm but if you want to skip through the Chinese and get straight to the account creation page, here it is http://www.7wifi.com.tw/join/account.aspx. You’re going to need a cell phone, as it will verify your account through your phone.
The reason for that is simple: your free wi-fi exists exclusively in a 90-minute increment, once a day. In other words, you can go to 7-Eleven and use the internet once a day for a 90-minute block each time. This is perfect for people who go to 7-Eleven for a lunch break or in-between blocks of classes. It’s not so good if you want to go to 7-Eleven ten times a day to check your Facebook for twenty minutes, but it does make sense to prohibit that; 7-Eleven has intelligently assumed that if you are going to spend 90 minutes online in a 7-Eleven, there’s a good chance you’ll buy something while you’re there.
It’s pretty ingenious and a great start of a public service; my capitalist friends would be quick to point out “this is how business does it better than government.” Hats off to 7-Eleven!
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