The city is upgrading the free WiFi at the Community Centre to handle up to 30 times more users.
The move is in advance of the Association of Vancouver Island Coastal Communities (AVICC) conference which the City of Campbell River is hosting next month.
Warren Kalyn, the city’s manager of information technology, said the upgrade is necessary in order to comply with the minimum requirements AVICC has established for WiFi service at its annual conferences, which this year is expected to draw around 275 delegates from across the Island and coastal communities.
“The conference, which will be held at the Campbell River Community Centre on April 7 to 9, must have the capacity to support 250 to 300 concurrent users,” Kalyn said. “Currently, WiFi capacity at the (Community Centre) is limited to 10 to 20 concurrent users.”
At its March 6 meeting, city council voted to spend $6,400 to upgrade the WiFi to a system that will have the Internet bandwidth capacity to manage 300 users’ simultaneous access to the Internet.
Kalyn said the coverage will consist of eight new Internet access points and will not require a password to use, however, it will come with some restrictions.
“Content management (denial of access to inappropriate sites and uses, etc.) will be enforced to ensure that the integrity of this hotspot is maintained,” Kalyn said. “Once installed, this WiFi implementation will remain as a permanent service provision asset at the Campbell River Community Centre.”
Ongoing operating costs for the new WiFi system are expected to come in at $1,680 annually.
The upgrade comes on the heels of WiFi improvements made by the city last year.
Council spent $7,310 to bring free wireless Internet access to Spirit Square, the Museum at Campbell River, the Maritime Heritage Centre and the Sportsplex last summer.
WiFi at the Maritime Heritage Centre is designed to handle 30 concurrent users and cover both floors of the building, as well as the parking lot where the Farmer’s Market sets up.
At the museum, WiFi is available on both floors and is intended to provide for 15 people to use the wireless Internet at the same time.
WiFi added at the Sportsplex improved upon temporary WiFi that could be accessed during special events such as the Home Show.
WiFi for the Maritime Heritage Museum and Spirit Square costs the city roughly $120 each month in operating costs while providing wireless Internet access at the Museum and at the Sportsplex costs around $100 each month.