This blog now has an update here. Please read this for more and newer information.
About a month and a half ago – when I was away, so I didn’t notice – Phase 2 of Penang Free WiFi was launched.
Soon after I returned I discovered it at Song River – where the signal was too weak to be useful.
At Bali Hai you get a very good signal, however. It has also worked well at Bukit Jambul Mall (specifically in the White Coffee coffee shop) and at Queensbay Mall (specifically at the Queens hawker centre on the third floor).
A list of locations is available from the provider, here. There are reportedly 1,550 free hotspots.
To use it it seems you must register – and if you value your privacy the form is very invasive – but there is nothing to stop you from inputting anything you want for many of the questions – the form doesn’t appear to use the Internet to confirm anything.
A stumbling block is that you need to input an IC number. This is Malaysia’s ubiquitous Identity Card (called an IC or Mykad). You probably don’t have one, and don’t want one. Where I come from, there is no ID card. It’s up to government to identify itself to us, not the other way around. If you don’t input one you can’t seem to register. If you are interested in the IC format check this article.
Unfortunately your passport number will not work.
So the Penang State government really has to decide whether it wants non-Malaysian residents and visitors to have access or not to this free service, and act accordingly.
Steps to access Penang Free WiFi:
Turn on WiFi on your device – (you use a lot more battery power if you just keep WiFi on)
Look at what hotspots your device finds
When you see Penang Free WiFi, connect to that
Start your browser, and the registration / logon page comes up
Once you have a logon, you can just log on – but at first you need to fill out a registration form, as detailed above.
So, from the second use, it is quite simple to connect.