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Free Wi-Fi at Beijing Olympics? It's spotty so far

As testing begins for Chinacomm's Wicity Internet access in key parts of Beijing, free until after the Summer Olympic Games, service is spotty in advertised coverage areas.

Graham Webster
Formerly a journalist and consultant in Beijing, Graham Webster is a graduate student studying East Asia at Harvard University. At Sinobyte, he follows the effects of technology on Chinese politics, the environment, and global affairs. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network, and is not an employee of CNET. Disclosure.
Graham Webster
Anticipated wireless coverage areas in Beijing. If they work, they are advertised to be free until after the Olympics. Wicity via Sina

Beijing Wicity is setting out to cover several key parts of Beijing with Wi-Fi access, and it is supposed to be free until after the Olympics, which will take place August 8-28, but service is spotty in advertised coverage areas.

Danwei reports that Wicity, not to be confused with WiiCity (which doesn't exist, but would be a pretty fun place), is a project of Chinacomm (中电华通). Wednesday is the first day of the test stage.

People in an office in Beijing's Central Business District, or CBD, report that they see the network but cannot get online. I'm sitting in a cafe in Sanlitun, and I don't see the network on either my MacBook or my HTC Touch.