When looking for a place to hunker down for a spell to take advantage of free public Wi-Fi, convenience, comfy seating and access to coffee are generally amongst the top considerations. Rarely, does close proximity to the deceased play into the equation.
Yet in Moscow, an increasingly connected city that ushered in broadband Internet along its extensive/extremely crowded metro system in 2014, the newest Wi-Fi hotspots will be located within its graveyards.
Hey, at least they’re quiet.
A new public Wi-Fi scheme to be unrolled early next year in a trio of large, highly trafficked Moscow cemeteries — Vagankovo, Troyekurovo and the grandaddy of all Russian final resting places, Novodevichy — doesn’t necessarily aim to attract the tablet-wielding masses to burial grounds, transforming them into bustling, open-air Internet cafes. Because that would just be weird.
Rather, access to free Wi-Fi would allow visitors — friends and family of the interred and tombstone tourists alike — to more easily navigate Moscow’s sprawling cemeteries. (To be clear, both Vagankovo and Novodevichy, home to Nikolai Gogol, Boris Yeltsin and Anton Chekov, already have tourist-friendly GPS systems in place).
But perhaps more importantly, free Wi-Fi would enable the living to whip out their smartphones and instantly access biographical information about the dead — statesmen, artists, literary figures, sports stars and other famous folk — resting before them. Morbid curiosity, indeed.
Lilya Lvovskaya, a spokeswoman with Ritual, the city-run agency that manages Moscow’s graveyards, tells AFP: “These cemeteries are like open-air museums. People often come and find themselves standing in front of a grave and want to know more about the person lying there.”
Fair enough. And it doesn’t hurt that they can check their email or the score of a soccer match in the process. Or maybe play a quick game of Words With Friends.
The AFP reports that if the free Wi-FI at these first three cemeteries proves to be popular, service could potentially expand to Moscow’s 133 other cemeteries.
While unusual, Moscow’s most famous cemeteries aren’t the first graveyards to go wireless. San Jose Cemetery in Granada, Spain, began offering Wi-Fi in 2014 while Oak Grove Cemetery in Paducah, Kentucky, also doubles as a free hotspot.
Via [The Verge] via [The Guardian]