Free Public Wi-Fi Coming to 43 Vancouver Locations

Photo credit: Andrew Raun | Wikipedia

Photo credit: Andrew Raun | Wikipedia

Internet users, it’s time to fire up those browsers.

The City of Vancouver is rolling out free Wi-Fi at 43 locations, ranging from community centres to outdoor pools, cultural centres and even marinas and public golf course clubhouses.

The new offerings will supplement the free Wi-Fi already available at Vancouver Public Library locations. It will be anonymous, with no registration requirements and no data caps.

The free Wi-Fi initiative is the result of nearly a decade of lobbying by groups seeking to “bridge the digital divide.” Free Wi-Fi levels the playing field for people who don’t have access to Internet at home, while also making things easier for tourists and helping in emergency situations. 

From City of Vancouver (link to actual map not available)

Free Wi-Fi locations | From City of Vancouver (link to actual map not available :( )

The free Wi-Fi will be rolled out over the next six months at civic facilities across Vancouver. Locations are as diverse as the Kitsilano pool on the West Side and Queen Elizabeth Theatre in the heart of the city. (A preliminary list of locations is below.) Planners had initially hoped to offer free outdoor Wi-Fi along Granville Street and outside the Vancouver Convention Centre, but technical problems have delayed that initiative for the moment.

The new Wi-Fi system is being installed and maintained by Telus, free of charge. Telus, in turn, can use the equipment it installs on city property for private purposes, as well, according to Metro News. The company has committed to upload and download speeds of five megabytes per second, more than sufficient to surf the web and even watch some videos, though not adequate for the most data-heavy applications.

Photo credit: Flying Penguin | Wikipedia

Photo credit: Flying Penguin | Wikipedia

Telus users enjoy an extra perk. Their devices will automatically be switched over to Wi-Fi when they find themselves in range of the new public network, according to the Vancouver Sun. Users with other providers can tap into the free network as well, though they’ll have to manually opt in.  Still, experts caution that the network is open – similar to what’s found at airports and other public locations – so it’s probably not the best idea to conduct privacy-sensitive transactions over it, like banking.

Here’s a list of locations to offer free Wi-Fi, as reported on Vancity Buzz

26 community centres across Vancouver (list here)
4 civic facilities and destinations
-Vancouver Aquatics Centre
-VanDusen Botanical Gardens
-Kerrisdale Arena
-Bloedel Conservatory
4 civic outdoor pools
-New Brighton Park Pool
-Maple Grove Park Pool
-Kitsilano Pool
-Second Beach Pool and Kiosk
3 public golf courses
-Fraserview Golf Course Club House
-Langara Golf Club Club House
-McCleery Golf Course Club House
3 civic theatres
-Orpheum Theatre
-Playhouse Theatre
-Queen Elizabeth Theatre
2 civic marinas
-Burrard Marina
-Heather Marina

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One Response to Free Public Wi-Fi Coming to 43 Vancouver Locations

  1. I’d have to offer a big yawn on this “news” There’s already plenty of free wifi around the city. Ever notice how many people camp in Starbucks and McDonalds these days? 43 locations isn’t exactly broad sweeping coverage. Besides, if you can afford a laptop computer or smartphone to use the wifi then you can probably afford your own Internet access in the first place. Also “free” does not necessarily mean reliable nor fast and the connection will mostly likely be filtered and throttled in some way limiting what services are available.