Free-for-all Internet

  • 2001-07-26
  • Jorgen Johansson
RIGA - As the celebration of Riga's 800th birthday draws nearer, companies are getting eager to put their name to the festivities. One of these companies is the international electronics company Hewlett Packard, which in cooperation with Telia Latvia is currently offering free access to the Internet at terminals strategically placed around Riga.

Terminals are located at the City Council, the shopping centers Mols and Alfa, the Rimi supermarket in Purvciems, the Lido restaurant on Krastmala Avenue and at the Radisson SAS, Maritim Park and Riga hotels. The idea is to increase people's awareness of the Internet and its usage.

The general director of the Riga 800 Agency, Inguna Ribena, said the terminals would help people who wanted to know more about what was going on during the anniversary celebrations, since the entire program would be available on the Internet.

Mikus Ozols, marketing director for Telia Latvia, agreed with Ribena and gave a short demonstration on the terminal at the Maritim Park Hotel.

The Riga 800 homepage ( contains short interviews and loads of information about what is happening in Riga during the celebrations in August. All information is available in Latvian, German and English. Of course, it is also possible to check e-mails and use the various search engines for general information on the Web.

Martins Berzins, regional trade manager at Hewlett Packard in Riga, shared Ribena's optimism, but said it would be very difficult to estimate how many users the terminals would have since they were located in such varied places.

Berzins said he was not afraid of damage to the terminals since only the keyboards and mouses would be in the open, while the rest protected behind glass.

"The keyboard is not really the most expensive part of the computer, and we have plenty of them," he said.

He also said that there was a risk that youngsters could hog the computers to play games online.

"This is education, too," he said.