Free Shaw Go Wi-Fi network coming to Moose Jaw

Lisa
Lisa Goudy
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Jody Hauta, director of parks and recreation, and Annita Wilton, regional manager of operations with Shaw Cable in Saskatchewan listen as Laurie Templeton, manager of government and regulatory affairs with Shaw Cable, discusses the Shaw Go Wi-Fi network proposed for Moose Jaw at the March 17, 2014 executive committee meeting at city hall.

Executive approves proposal for free Wi-Fi in certain facilities

Shaw Cable will provide free Wi-Fi to facilities in the city.

At Monday’s executive committee meeting, the majority of executive voted in favour of the City of Moose Jaw to negotiate and finalize an agreement for free Wi-Fi in certain facilities with Shaw Cable.

“What Shaw is doing is extending our network … One of the key areas in any municipality like Moose Jaw is there’s municipal infrastructure where people end up gathering, not just city hall,” said Laurie Templeton, manager of government and regulatory affairs with Shaw Cable. “So if we could mesh the network and utilize some of the access points in those venues or spaces, everybody just gets a much better experience.”

Proposed facilities for the Shaw Go Wi-Fi network include the Kinsmen Sportsplex, outdoor recreation areas such as Ross Wells Ball Park, city hall, the Moose Jaw Public Library, the Moose Jaw Museum and Art Gallery and the Moose Jaw Cultural Centre. For Wi-Fi in facilities operated by third party groups, Shaw will require owner approval before installing access points in those parks or facilities.

Shaw’s proposal includes an initial 10-year agreement in a non-exclusive arrangement. Shaw also indicated they are willing to provide free Wi-Fi from access points either on or in municipal property. Access points will be mounted to buildings, poles or structures.

Once a device registered in a Shaw Cable plan is registered, it will automatically connect when in a Shaw Go Wi-Fi hotspot.

“We’ve got lots of Shaw customers here, but we’ve also got people that aren’t Shaw customers,” said Templeton. “We’re in business to look after our customers, but also to be a partner in our community. So we’ve actually extended our offer not only to our customers to use our Wi-Fi service at no charge, but non-Shaw customers can log on as a guest.”

Mayor Deb Higgins asked if there is a limit for guest users for the Wi-Fi system. Templeton said guest users would be allowed to have three sessions per month and a capacity of 500 megabytes.

Coun. Brian Swanson asked if there were any drawbacks.

“With any Wi-Fi service, there is potential for interference between various Wi-Fi network … For example, Mosaic Place has many wireless networks that are utilized for ticket-taking, for concessions, for a number of different things,” said Jody Hauta, director of parks and recreation. “Some of the other centres have not moved in the direction of putting in free Wi-Fi at the risk of creating interference for those networks that are essential to the operation.”

He added administration would review the termination clause to ensure a way to cancel the agreement if it creates problems with the city’s Wi-Fi network.

Annita Wilton, regional manager of operations in Saskatchewan with Shaw Cable, said regarding Wi-Fi interference concerns, Shaw wants to make the proposal work in the city.

“We’re happy to do try-outs,” she said. “It’s our desire to make this work and work in a way that works for (the city) and the residents of Moose Jaw.”

Shaw has signed agreements with more than 40 municipalities, including locations in Alberta, British Columbia and Manitoba. Moose Jaw will be the first Saskatchewan municipality to be signed up for the service.

Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.

Organizations: Moose Jaw Public Library, Moose Jaw Museum, Moose Jaw Cultural Centre

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, Ross Wells Ball Park, Saskatchewan Alberta British Columbia Manitoba

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  • Ilonka Halsband
    March 18, 2014 - 12:41

    Perhaps I'm misunderstanding who can access this 'free' wifi but as I'm reading this I take it to mean that only Shaw customers have free unlimited access. Non-Shaw customers get only 3 free opportunities a month. If this service is offered at community locations it should be equally available to all citizens.