Free wireless access provided

A 10-year agreement between the municipality and Shaw Cablesystems Ltd. will provide free wireless Internet access in Summerland.

A 10-year agreement between the municipality and Shaw Cablesystems Ltd. will provide free wireless Internet access to residents and visitors in public spaces throughout the community.

On Monday, council unanimously approved the agreement to allow the installation of the service.

Jeremy Denegar, director of corporate services for the municipality, said there will be 20 indoor locations and 43 outdoor locations, providing good coverage for the community.

“With 80 per cent of Canadians using cell phones and almost half of those using smartphones and tablets, free wireless Internet access is becoming a must-have for communities that want to attract business, visitors and new residents,” Denegar said in a report to council.

Some of the access points include municipal hall, the Summerland Museum, the Summerland branch of the Okanagan Regional Library, the Aquatic Centre, Centre Stage Theatre, the arena complex, parks and streets.

Shaw will provide the Internet service while the municipality will provide the power.

The cost of the electrical power for the stations is estimated at $340 a year for the entire service.

Denegar said some communities are implementing government-owned wireless services while others are allowing private wireless services only available to customers of the provider. The Summerland agreement will provide a privately-operated service available for all.

The agreement is dated May 14 and work will begin as soon as possible, Denegar said.