Halifax city council interested in setting up public Wi-Fi
Service priorities are Dartmouth and Halifax waterfronts, as well as Metro Transit ferries
Halifax city council is looking to make the city more Wi-Fi friendly so that anyone with a mobile device can get online for free in the most popular areas of the city.
The city believes making information more accessible would make Halifax more competitive for residents, businesses, students and tourists.
"This is a service we should offer if that is our goal," said Jim Kirk, the manager of service management operations with the city.
The city wants the service to be free and self-sustaining and that could be achieved through advertising or fees for higher-end use.
Kirk says other municipalities have implemented systems where slower access is free, while there is a premium involved to get faster internet access.
The priorities for the Wi-Fi service are the Dartmouth and Halifax waterfronts. Service would also be available on Metro Transit ferries, as well as popular parts of the city such as Alderney Landing, Barrington Street, Quinpool Road and Spring Garden.
Andrew Wright is a fan of the idea.
"It's long overdue for Halifax to do something like this," said the office manager at Chebucto Community Net. "We were talking about this 10 years ago."
The city has issued a request for information (RFI) from solution providers to examine the interest and capability of the idea. By doing so, the city hopes "to identify and develop business models that could successfully and sustainability deliver a Wi-Fi service to Halifax," said the RFI.
The initiative is at the exploratory stage and wouldn't likely become a reality until 2015. The city hasn't set a number on how much it's willing to pay for this initiative.