Mayor Jakeway pushes for free Wi-Fi

Campbell River may soon have free Wi-Fi hot spots all over the city.

Council this week directed city staff to prepare a report with details on providing Wi-Fi coverage to the Campbellton and Willow Point business areas, as well as the downtown core.

The idea, brought forth by Mayor Walter Jakeway, was inspired from a fellow Vancouver Island municipality.

“I noticed this Christmas while I was driving through the City of Langford that as you enter the town, in the downtown core section, there’s signs telling you how to get on to their Wi-Fi system,” Jakeway said.

“It’s an open access system. It just seems like exactly the right thing with so many people having digital devices that are mobile. I just thought it was a great idea.”

CRTV also thought it was a great idea, as Jakeway said the former local cable company had looked into free community hot spots before it was sold to Shaw.

Coun. Andy Adams was also impressed with the idea of free city Wi-Fi.

“I was pleased to see you brought this up, Your Worship,” Adams said at Tuesday’s council meeting.

“I had approached the IMIT department several years ago to do this in the downtown core. I think this isn’t onerous for staff to do and they should be able to put a preliminary cost together quite easily.”

In Langford, which has had free Wi-Fi downtown since 2008, the start-up infrastructure cost was $50,000.

Residents in that community are able to access the Internet on their mobile devices by scanning for the city’s network and once connected, reading and accepting terms and conditions on a disclaimer page.

The set up is similar to what is offered in Internet cafes and on BC Ferries.

Langford has four low-powered transmitters (routers) strung from street lights on the road to create its wireless network.

Jakeway said a similar Wi-Fi system would fit perfectly in Campbell River.

“It just fits with exactly what our town needs, and we need it in all three of our business communities I believe,” he said.

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