Shaw, district discuss hot spots deal

Maple Ridge is looking at a deal that could net it an extra $12,640 a year in return for allowing Shaw Communications to set up WiFi locations throughout the district.

A tentative deal presented to council Tuesday has Shaw paying $40 a year for 31 indoor WiFi locations and $200 for outdoor locations.

Places such as the Arts Centre Theatre, Maple Ridge Public Library, Planet Ice, Cliff Falls park, Alouette Park or Telosky stadium, in all 57 outdoor locations, could be fitted with routers or radio transmitters, allowing Shaw customers to get on to WiFi instantly once their device has been registered with Shaw.

More locations could be added in the future and the arrangement wouldn’t be exclusive so that other communications companies could offer the same service.

The deal could also replace the Freetown experiment the district tried a few years ago, in which free WiFi was offered in and around municipal buildings.

Replacing that with Shaw Go WiFi will save the district having to spend money maintaining that service.

Staff doesn’t want guest customers, or non-Shaw users to have to provide personal information, such as phone numbers or e-mails, in order to access the guest service around the municipal centre.

They’re recommending that providing such information be optional in order to minimize tracking of users.

“A true public service is unfettered and exclusive,” says a staff report.

However, there are good points to providing extensive free WiFi, such as economic development, community building and promoting use of technology.

So far, the company has 30,000 Shaw Go WiFi locations across Western Canada.


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