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Wi-Fi in Rome

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San Jose, California
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Wi-Fi in Rome

Is there Wi-Fi service in Rome, like they have in Venice? If not, could someone please comment on options to access the web while traveling in Rome? I don't mind paying, hope it is not too much.

Le Marche, Italy
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1. Re: Wi-Fi in Rome

Wifi is a bit of a problem in Rome, as in most of Italy. I'm not sure how it works in Venice, but in Rome most wifi spots send you a password to your *Italian* cell phone. This is to satisfy anti-terrorism laws that stipulate that a user of wifi services in Italy has to be traceable. Since your passport (or identity card) is photocopied when you get an Italian phone number, this is an easy way to satisfy the law, although it's not very convenient for non-Italians.

The Rome public transit agency has set up wifi spots at many bus stops and tourist locations, but you need that Italian cell phone number to get the password. There are also some bars and cafés that have wifi, but with the same rule. Many hotels have wifi, although I haven't had great luck with it.

What type of device will you be connecting to the internet? One option is to get a cheap prepaid Italian cell phone plan to get those passwords. Another would be to get a prepaid Italian data plan if you have a USB modem or an unlocked phone that can be tethered.

Minnesota
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2. Re: Wi-Fi in Rome

I don't know what is free or for "Italian" phones, but here is what google is showing. At least you can see the hot spots.

maps.google.it/maps/ms…

Edited: 12 April 2011, 21:16
Le Marche, Italy
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3. Re: Wi-Fi in Rome

The Provincia Wifi network is mostly for schools, sports centers, recreation centers, libraries, and other associations in the province of Rome. You would definitely need a password to access it, and you would have to get the password in a way that would allow the authorities to trace you if you should be plotting a terrorist act. The "Italian phone" is used only as a means of transmitting the password to a known person, whose identity card or password was photocopied when they got the phone number. This is just one of the easier methods of transmitting a password legally. For a sports club or library, probably they would just sign up their members, photocopying their identity cards as part of the enrollment.

Provincia Wifi also allows private groups, such as bars and restaurants, to join the network, provided they follow the laws on access. However, I have a feeling most of the over 500 access points are for members of the various participating groups. I have tried several methods of getting wifi access in Rome, including signing up for a service advertised by the city several years ago, and signing up for Boingo. I never found any of these methods to be useful. I now mostly access the internet in Rome either from my Android phone, which has an Italian wireless data plan; or via my USB modem, for which I get a weekly or monthy prepaid plan as needed. Both of these have Italian SIM cards, and so far, it's the only reliable internet access I can get, not only in Rome but in most of Italy.

San Jose, California
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4. Re: Wi-Fi in Rome

bvlenci and Kajon, many thanks for your replies. I am bringing a GPS along, many print outs, just in case I cannot get wireless connection, but would like to have internet access for connecting to family and for helping with the trip.

I plan to get a phone and SIM in Italy, and thus will have an Italian phone number. Could you please tell me how I can get a USB modem and a prepaid data plan for it? Thank you so much!

P.S. Venetian Connection sells 72 hours of wi-fi access in Venice for 8 Euros, which seems reasonable? Not sure how well the wi-fi connection and quality is.

Le Marche, Italy
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5. Re: Wi-Fi in Rome

You can get a USB modem in any phone store or in many stores that sell small appliances or electronics. They cost about 50 euros, but you can often get them bundled with a prepaid data plan for the same price. There are plans that give you a fixed number of hours (just connect time) per month, with no data limit; and plans that give you a fixed amount of data traffic, with no time limit.

I usually get the plan with the time limit. Forty hours of connect time would probably be more than what you would need, and it costs about 10 euros a month, if I remember correctly. The modems disconnect if there's no activity, or if the computer goes into hibernation, so that you only get charged for the time you're actually using the internet. If you want to remain on line for long periods of time a day (maybe in your hotel, so you can receive Skype calls), you might need more hours, or you could get a plan with a data limit rather than a time limit. In that case, you should also set the energy saving options on your computer to turn off the screen when inactive, but not to turn off the CPU.

I still don't understand what kind of device you want to connect to the internet. The USB modem is for connecting a laptop or a netbook.

The €8 for 72 hours of wifi access sounds good to me. I've been in hotels that charge that much for 24 hours of practically useless wifi connection.

Minnesota
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6. Re: Wi-Fi in Rome

fmly_tvlr - I wrote to the Roma Wireless folks and this was the answer I received, but I don't think I want to replace my iphone sim card with one of theirs. Maybe I will run into you at one of the many internet cafes!

Our wifi-internet-access is free .

For use it you need doing a registration process direct in the place where you find the roma wireless access-point's .

For to completed the registration process you need an Italian's mobile telephone card , that's all .

Rgds,

Rocco Penna

Unidata S.p.a. - Customer Care

Via Portuense 1555

00050 Rome

email: helpdesk@unidata.it - web: http://www.unidata.it

Tel: 06.40404300 - Fax: 06.40404002

Los Angeles...
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7. Re: Wi-Fi in Rome

Jumping in here, a couple of Luddites going to Rome next month...

We don't want to have ANY kind of cell phone while we are in Italy, we were just planning on taking a small Netbook along to access email.

Our hotels say various things about wifi access, does this mean we are stuck without a cell phone?!?

Le Marche, Italy
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8. Re: Wi-Fi in Rome

Kajon, yes, that's the catch for foreign tourists. If you iPhone is locked, as I believe they mostly are, you couldn't use a different SIM card even if you wanted to. Why don't you contact them again, explaining that your phone can't use an Italian SIM card, and ask what a foreigner is supposed to do to get wifi access? They keep bragging about how great this public wifi is for tourists, and it doesn't seem to have occurred to anyone that a lot of tourists can't register for it. I did see one mention of the problem in a magazine article, but every other source just totally skipped over that issue.

It's the same with most of the other wifi points, including those in McDonald's.

Le Marche, Italy
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9. Re: Wi-Fi in Rome

gigib: As I said above, I haven't had great luck with wifi access in hotels in Rome. They tend to work well only in the lobby, and sometimes they're awfully slow even there. That's why I bought a USB modem for my netbook, and I use that for internet access when I travel around Italy.

My post number 5 above explains about USB modems. They work pretty well, on cell phone networks, but sometimes in old buildings with massive stone walls, you have to position yourself near a window to get a signal.

Many hotels, with or without wifi, have computers in the lobby that guests can use. Your other option would be to leave your netbook at home and use hotel computers or internet cafés. I'm always a little reluctant to check my email on a public computer, though. At the very least, I would change my password as soon as I returned home. Before I got the USB modem, I used to carry around a little data key with a portable version of Firefox on it. This allowed me to check my email in hotels and internet cafés without leaving any trace of my presence on the computer. However, it wouldn't foil key sniffers.

Virginia
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10. Re: Wi-Fi in Rome

Has anyone checked out the free wifi finder app for iPhone?

Rome is listed and there are some allegedly free internet points on the app. Most are hotels, which allegedly are open wifi spots (no password or registration needed). There are a couple of cafe's and 1 McDonalds I see.

I believe the way the app works is people report free sources of wifi in various places.