Shaw Communications today announced it has begun consumer trials of its broadband wireless network using WiFi technology.

The company says Shaw High Speed Internet customers can trial the service at a limited number of locations, including malls, restaurants and fitness facilities, in Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton.

First announced in September 2011, the Wifi network is expected to officially launch in Western Canada in the Spring of 2012. Shaw says it expects to have almost 500 Access Points up and running by the end of December. Previously the company said it anticipates deploying over 60,000 access points in Western Canada.

A Shaw representative tells Digital Home that during technical trials last month, testers were experiencing download speeds four times that of the newest LTE cellular networks (on capable hardware).

Shaw users within the trial areas will be able to connect to the Shaw Wifi network by using their email address and password. Shaw subscribers will be allowed to authenticate up to eight devices.

The broadband WiFi network will only be available to Shaw High Speed Internet users with a Shaw email account.

Shaw home internet users should note that data usage during the trial will not count towards their home internet bandwidth cap, however, it will count once the network is officially launched.

Discuss the new WiFi network in Digital Home's Shaw High Speed Internet and Home Phone discussion forum.