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Free Citywide WiFi Network to Come to Vancouver by 2010


With Toronto, Paris, San Francisco, Philadelphia (who were the first to jump on board, way back in 2004), Chicago, Miami Beach, Fredericton (that's the sleepy village in New Brunswick, by the way), and a host of other North American and European centres offering free, state-of-the-art broadband wireless networking citywide across their jurisdictions, the forward thinkers on Vancouver City Council have finally capitulated to the public's will, and on Thursday announced a free, citywide wireless broadband network by 2010.

What does this mean for you? Well, for starters, by 2010 you'll be online, free-of-charge with a state-of-the-art high speed Internet connection 24/7 anywhere (and I do mean anywhere) across the City of Vancouver. Chances are that your cell phone (at least the new Apple iPhone) will connect through a WiMax network, which will forever do away with land-based telephones. You'll be able to surf the 'Net and send e-mails wherever you are (in your car, in the park) at will, wherever and whenever you choose.

Free. (Although, to be perfectly honest, it'll probably be ad-supported)

According to Bruce Clayman, a Simon Fraser University Physics Professor and a member of the SFU Centre for Policy Research and Technology establishing a wireless network in Vancouver could yield a wide range of opportunities, including ...

  • providing residential and business computers with unlimited Internet access for a one-time fee of under $50;

    • automating hydro, gas, water and parking meter reading;

    • equipping transit, commercial and private vehicles with global position system (GPS) devices, which could expedite retrieval of information on stolen vehicles and help drivers determine their locations and find addresses;

    • providing tourists with instant access to maps and travel information;

    • providing city staff in the field with access to building inspection schedules, parking ticket details and other information;

    • delivering maps, mugshots and other information to emergency response teams travelling to accident sites;

    • providing a "smart" transit system that can advise commuters about bus and other transit schedules; and

    • providing free Internet access to residents of the Downtown Eastside, those on low or fixed incomes

    Remember that Telus ad that ran a couple of years back, the 'story' of a young woman shopping for a birthday present for her mother? She held the phone up so her sister could see the present she was considering for purchase. There was about the ad an eerie 'brave new world' quality.

    Welcome to that future. And much, much more. It's here now.

    Posted by Raymond Tomlin at February 2, 2007 8:05 PM in Web & Tech


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