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Tiny Canary soars to world Wi-Fi first

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Tiny Canary soars to world Wi-Fi first
Pilgrims at The Virgin of the Kings festival held every four years will now be able to surf the net as they complete the 35km journey. Photo: Desiree Martin/AFP
17:26 CET+01:00
The smallest of the Canary Islands, famed in recent years for its underwater volcanic eruptions, became on Tuesday the first island on the planet with full, free Wi-Fi coverage.
It's more than just volcanic eruptions causing a stir in El Hierro.
 
With the installation of 26 Wi-Fi access points scattered across the volcanic island, its ten thousand or so inhabitants will be able to enjoy a painstakingly slow 256kb per second connection free of charge.
 
The project, presented by Industry, Energy and Tourism minister José Manuel Soria, himself a Canarian, will connect villages and remote locations that didn't even have electricity until they started using renewable energy sources to generate it only recently.
 
The two thousand tourists that El Hierro can hold will also now be able to share their holiday experiences in real time.  
 
El Hierro's local government, the outright owner of the Wi-Fi network, hopes to use the new technology to monitor traffic, and detect forest and house fires as well manage water supply in wells and rubbish in bins.
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