Kelowna city council has taken Shaw Cablesystems Ltd. up on its offer to set up free Wi-Fi hotspots around the city.
Council agreed to a five-year non-exclusive deal with Shaw Monday, which will see public Wi-Fi service made available in many city parks and other public places across the city including:
• throughout the Bernard Avenue area downtown
• the Mission Town Centre and Pandosy Village areas
• the Spall Plaza area
• the Abbott Street pedestrian corridor
• community and recreation centres, including Memorial and Rutland arenas and the Apple Bowl
• dozens of parks, public sports courts and sports fields.
• public buildings
The deal will not cost the city anything, as Shaw says it will pay for the equipment required, the electrical costs and signs to let the public know they are in a Shaw Wi-Fi hotspot. The required equipment will be located on lamp posts and power poles.
The system will will rolled out over the course of 2014 and, while Shaw customers will be able to join the system through their Shaw accounts, non-Shaw customers will also be able to log on as guests. While the service will be free for all, guests will be restricted to 250MB of data per month.
City officials said making the system available to everyone, not just Shaw customers, was a prerequisite for its approval.
The deal is not exclusive, meaning other companies could approach the city with similar proposals, said Mayor Walter Gray.
“This is a sign of where we are heading,” said Coun. Colin Basran about the arrival of free city-wide Wi-Fi in Kelowna.
Similar systems exist in other Canadian and U.S. cities and Basran added that he felt it just made sense to have it here as well.