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Riga names itself 'European Capital of WiFi'

The Latvian capital is officially a European Capital of Culture in 2014 but on Thursday Riga awarded itself another title: 'European Capital of WiFi' in a move likely to raise the hackles of its rivals.

Signs have been erected by the Riga municipality and national telecoms company Lattelecom at five locations on the city borders informing visitors of the claim, which is likely to prove contentious among other would-be WiFi capitals such as Tallinn in Estonia.

Backing up the claim, data provided by Lattelecom says Riga has three free WiFi points per square kilometre and one free WiFi point per 750 inhabitants compared to Tallinn's two free WiFi points per square kilometre and one free WiFi point per 1263 inhabitants.

Riga also outstrips other pretenders to the crown including Vienna, Stockholm, Helsinki and Paris, Lattelecom says.

“Riga has moved ahead of other European cities for free WiFi coverage," Riga Mayor Nils Usakovs said at the unveiling of the signs.

Lattelecom chairman Juris Gulbis said Latvia was “on the road to becoming a WiFi suerpower” with the sixth-fastest internet in the world and more than 4,000 free WiFi points across the whole country. 

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