City council in Vancouver voted this week to give Telus permission to install free WiFi at public locations throughout the city.
Two outdoor locations, one along the downtown section of Granville Street and the other outside the convention centre are awaiting help with technical issues, but all other 43 hotspots are set to start installations in just weeks.
Outdoor and indoor sites in Vancouver include community centers, theatres, cultural centres, outdoor pools, public golf course clubhouses, and the marinas at False Creek.
According to Josh Blair, chief corporate officer at Telus, rollout of the installations will be based on the city’s requirements, and while providing residents and visitors with a valuable service, the resource will also lighten the present demand on Telus’s cellular data network.
The Vancouver Telus Wi Fi will be free, with no data caps, and no requirements for users to share information to gain access to the network.
The city has varying motives for deciding to install the mass-access service.
Paul Mochrie, general manager in charge of human resources and digital for the city of Vancouver cited the poverty divide and helping to bring internet access to people who don’t have it at home.
“Bridging the digital divide is important for us,” Mochrie said.
According to a city staff report other primary rationales range from economic development to tourism, business transformation, competitive pressures, and emergency response.
Vancouver can now be added to the growing list of cities in Canada with free Wi Fi locations in downtown cores, on public transit and in tourist areas.