Speech at Panel on Information Technology and Broadcasting

Wi-Fi Connected City Programme

Provision of free Wi-Fi services in public hospitals and clinics

Mr CHAN Chun-ying asked about the locations of the 580 “Wi-Fi.HK” hotspots in public hospitals and clinics. He also questioned the rationale for providing only one hour of free public Wi-Fi service in the waiting halls of Accident and Emergency Departments and Specialist Out-patient Clinics operated by the Hospital Authority (“HA”) in view of the long service waiting time. The Chairman asked when the Administration would provide free Wi-Fi services in all public hospitals.

Chief Systems Manager (Digital Inclusion) (“CSM”) said that six public hospitals, namely Caritas Medical Centre, Hong Kong Eye Hospital, Kwong Wah Hospital, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Yan Chai Hospital and Princess Margaret Hospital, were provided with “Wi-Fi.HK” hotspots. More hotspots would be installed in seven other public hospitals, namely Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital, Queen Mary Hospital, Tseung Kwan O Hospital, Prince of Wales Hospital, Tuen Mun Hospital, Tin Sui Wai Hospital and Hong Kong Children’s Hospital from the second half of 2017. The Administration was assisting HA in planning for the provision of free Wi-Fi services in other public hospitals. GCIO added that there was no definite timetable for extending the services to all public hospitals as there were technical constraints for implementing Wi-Fi service in some medical facilities.

CSM further explained that according to available information, the waiting time for many medical services was less than one hour. As the free public Wi-Fi service was provided by private service providers at their own cost under a public-private collaboration model, private service providers should be given incentives such as allowing them to offer value-added services if users decided to continue to access the Wi-Fi service after the free usage time had expired. The Administration considered it necessary to strike a balance between offering free public Wi-Fi service and providing sufficient incentives to service providers.

Dissemination of public information through the “Wi-Fi.HK” programme

Mr CHAN Chun-ying asked if there were terms under the public-private collaboration model which allowed the Government to announce public information or to publicize government services in the form of pop-up advertisements through the free Wi-Fi services. US for IT said that there were terms in the service contracts allowing the Administration to announce public information on the Wi-Fi service landing page.


Facilitating Cinema Development

Cinema requirement in the land lease of designated government land sale sites

Mr CHAN Chun-ying queried whether the proposed requirement of provision of cinema seats in land sales agreement might be effective in assisting the local film industry in the long run. While developers might be willing to offer concessionary rent to a cinema operator for the first seven years, they might force the cinema operator to vacate by raising the rent to a prohibitive level at the end of the period. Once the cinema had left, developers would then apply for lease modification and convert the space for other more profitable uses. He asked whether the terms of land sales should be phrased in such a way as to require the minimum number of cinema seats to be provided on a permanent basis instead of seven years. Head of CreateHK said that the Administration had to strike a balance between land use consideration and financial return that could be derived from the sale of the site concerned, and to take into account the impact of the proposed land sale terms on developers and cinema operators. The Administration would review the arrangement and refine it as necessary following the sale of the first two sites.

Subsidy to audience

Mr CHAN Chun-ying suggested that the Administration should cultivate a film appreciation culture by offering subsidies to students and elderly persons to watch films. Head of CreateHK mentioned that some cinema operators were already offering concessionary tickets to elderly persons; students discount tickets were also available at the Hong Kong International Film Festival.