As of 2018 roughly half of the world’s population had access to the World Wide Web, most of which is concentrated in developed parts, such as Europe, North America, Australia and certain countries in the Far East. Wi-Fi is becoming so common, that you can already find it in the most unlikely corners of the world. If you happen to wander off into the North Pole and get surrounded by polar bears, don’t worry because there’s a hotspot to keep you busy until rescue arrives. Same goes for the summit of Mount Everest or the Moon, both of which also have working online services, although getting stranded on the Moon isn’t that likely. Not yet at least. What is likely is abandoning Wi-Fi for various reasons, mostly because it’s everywhere and it tends to overwhelm people, so some of them decide to quit and go on a digital detox, or even completely abandon the Internet. There are places all over the world where Wi-Fi is completely non-existent, which is a real treat for those wanting to go off-the-grid.
A Quiet Town in West Virginia
Green Bank, West Virginia, is home to the largest steerable radio telescope in the world – some would say it’s our best chance at uncovering space secrets. Scientists spend hours listening to radio energy that has traveled light years, in an attempt to solve mysteries about stars and galaxies. Any outer interruption could intercept the signal and scramble it, thus missing out on important details and even real discoveries. That’s why any electronic transmitters are completely banned in the city, and that also includes Wi-Fi. So, if you decide to visit Green Bank, make sure to keep it down – the scientists are listening to the waves.
Wi-Fi Ban in French Nurseries
There is no reliable evidence on whether radio frequencies carried out through Wi-Fi pose any health risks, though it’s been an ongoing debate for a while, especially since hotspots are springing up like crazy all over the world. The biggest concern is that Wi-Fi might be a major contributor to developing cancer. France has decided to put a hold on debates and take action. On January 29, 2015, the French National Assembly made history by passing a law to reduce exposures to wireless radiation electromagnetic fields. Wi-Fi was completely banned in nursery schools for kids under 3 years of age, and it was also minimized in schools for older children, stating that routers should be turned off when not used for educational purposes.
Tough Italian Mayor vs. Wi-Fi
Seems like not only France is paranoid about Wi-Fi related health issues. The mayor of a small Italian town Borgofranco d’Ivrea has ordered Wi-Fi to be turned off in two schools and return to using cables. Apparently, mayor Livio Tola has read somewhere that electromagnetic waves given off by routers were especially harmful to young children, so he decided to take some precautionary measures. Livio Tola says that someday people might thank him for his decision. However, not everybody is happy about the mayor’s good intentions, arguing that children are now deprived of modern teaching methods using smart technology. Also, some locals stress that the rule is hypocritical since children already spend lots of time in city squares and libraries that have Wi-Fi access.
No-Fi Zone in a Coffee Shop
Chicago’s Kibbitznest looks your typical trendy cafe. With an eclectic mix of tables and chairs, quirky art and bookshelves it looks super cool and hipster, however, it does lack one main hipster ingredient which is Wi-Fi. No, the owners are not poor or broke – this is a deliberate move to encourage human conversations and self-awareness. Freelancers and digital nomads love cafes that have food, drinks, and fast internet. It’s a holy trio that attracts busy workers armed with laptops and smartphones, often turning coffee shops into co-working spaces rather than centers of community. That’s probably the main reason Annie Kostiner and her husband Lewis opened Kibbitznest, in an attempt “to raise awareness about the imbalance between the use of electronic technology and face-to-face communication.”
North Korea Doesn’t Have Any Wi-Fi
It would be unfair to say that North Korea doesn’t have any Wi-Fi access because certain special locations tailored to tourists do have them, even though you will be offered a very restricted and modified version of the World Wide Web. For the rest of the country, it’s a complete ban on any communications with the outside world, including the Internet, as part of the totalitarian government’s attempt to completely regulate every aspect of public and private life. So, if you’re looking for a real rest, then North Korea is probably one of the most reliable countries to go to, because even if you fall back and decide to search for online access – there simply is none. No pumpkin spice latte, and no lightning speed Wi-Fi for you here. North Korea is where you want to go for a hardcore digital detox.
Dome in Brecon Beacons National Park
The Brecon Beacons National Park in South Wales is a pretty sight on its own, but you do need to stay somewhere to explore all of that beauty. Luckily there’s some unique accommodation for all you nature lovers – check out this geodesic dome, all equipped and ready to satisfy your needs, looks kind of high-tech, but the catch is that it’s completely off-the-grid. There’s no electricity, so you can leave your laptop phone and hairdryer at home, but make sure to bring candles and matches. Enjoy your digital detox, while sipping hot chocolate in front of the wood-burning stove and observing the spectacular Black Mountains.
Loch Hourn, Scottish Highlands
Skiary guesthouse in Scotland has no phone signal, no electricity, no roads, and absolutely no Wi-Fi. What it does have is a beautiful lake and surrounding mountains that will surely inspire and make you forget that you ever had online access. You gadgets will be pretty useless here, so once settled in this family-run accommodation, put away your fancy smartphones and laptops, and go on hiking, fishing or just relaxing by the lake. After a day or two of hill walking, breathing fresh air and observing sunsets over the lake, you might even consider staying here longer than anticipated.