THE requirement for restaurants and eateries in the city centre to be Wi-Fi ready will be enforced by City Hall as early as April.
This requirement has been set by City Hall as mandatory prerequisite for food operators when they apply for their licence to open a new restaurant or when existing operators renew their licence.
However, the requirement would only apply to restaurants owners operating on premises bigger than 120 sq m in floor size.
Besides the restaurants, the Wi-Fi requirement is also imposed on cafes, pubs, bars and club lounges. The outlet operators are free to provide the Wi-Fi service to their customers for free or for a reasonable fee.
"The Wi-Fi service is in demand and food outlet operators who offer it will be giving their customers value-added services," Kuala Lumpur mayor Tan Sri Ahmad Fuad Ismail told Streets recently.
The mayor said a survey is being carried out to determine the number of eateries in the city centre that offer Wi-Fi. The survey will be carried out until March for City Hall to set up a database of Wi-Fi-ready eateries.
"There will be no extra charge to the licensing fee. However, operators are subjected to any charges imposed by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission or Internet service providers."
He said the council is also looking at installing Wi-Fi facilities at public food courts.
"We are still studying the feasibility of installing them at public hawker centres," said the mayor.
Food courts that have been identified for Wi-Fi facility include the City Hall-managed Keramat Mall and Danau Kota hawker centres.
Meanwhile, the mayor said the WirelessKL service would be discontinued after the expiry of the two-year contract for the free Wi-Fi service by Internet service provider Packet One Networks (M) Sdn Bhd.
The free Wi-Fi service was launched in May 2008.
A total of 1,500 Wi-Fi hotspots were activated in the city, including public housing schemes and commercial centres.
When asked why City Hall did not continue the free WirelessKL service with its service provider, Ahmad Fuad said the council wanted to give other service providers a chance to offer better connectivity and value-added service to city folk.
City Hall had also posted a recent announcement on its website informing the public of the availability of Wi-Fi service at the Kuala Lumpur Perdana Botanical Park. It is only accessible for TM Internet account holders.