Chinatown visitors to get free Wi-Fi access from March 28

 The new Chinatown Food Street has 24 street-hawker stalls and six shophouse restaurants serving a variety of dishes. Visitors to Chinatown will soon be able to get free Wi-Fi access while navigating the streets of the popular tourist precinct.&
 The new Chinatown Food Street has 24 street-hawker stalls and six shophouse restaurants serving a variety of dishes. Visitors to Chinatown will soon be able to get free Wi-Fi access while navigating the streets of the popular tourist precinct. -- ST PHOTO: DEMOND LIM

Visitors to Chinatown will soon be able to get free Wi-Fi access while navigating the streets of the popular tourist precinct.

A free Wi-Fi network, which will be implemented on March 28, will cover five areas in Chinatown, namely Smith Street, Trengganu Street, Pagoda Street, Sago Street and Kreta Ayer Square. The network, operated by SingTel wil runs at the speed of 360 mbps, and will be able to accommodate up to 2,000 wireless devices at any one point.

When logged onto the network, visitors can also access a map of Chinatown that highlights popular landmarks and places of interest such as the Sri Mariamman Temple and the Chinatown Food Street.

The initiative is spearheaded by the Chinatown Business Association (CBA) and supported by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).

"Visitors today are increasingly digital-savvy and often plan their itineraries on the move," said Mr James Ong, the executive director of CBA. "Having easy access to online travel sources via the free Wi-Fi network will enable visitors to discover hidden gems and deepen their understanding of Chinatown and its colourful heritage."

In conjunction with the launch, STB will also organise an event on the weekend of March 28 to 30 to solicit ideas for a digital programme or application that can "bring alive the stories and heritage of Chinatown".

The event, called Chinatown coLAB 2014, aims to bring together some 100 participants from various backgrounds including software developers, urban planners and students. Participants will get to tour Chinatown, attend talks and given access to visitor data sets.

The teams will present their prototypes to a panel of judges on the final day of the event and the winning concepts may be developed into digital applications or web-based solutions. Registration for Chinatown coLAB began on March 5, and will close on March 28. Those interested can visit www.upsingapore.com/chinatown-colab-2014 for more information.