British Columbia

TransLink to bring free Wi-Fi to entire transit system, beginning in 2020

TransLink users will be able to sign onto free Wi-Fi while riding the bus, SkyTrain or SeaBus starting in 2020.

TransLink will partner with Shaw Communications to introduce Wi-Fi on its buses, SkyTrains and SeaBus

TransLink plans to begin offering free Wi-Fi throughout its service in 2020. By 2025, it should extend to all modes of TransLink transportation, including HandyDart buses and community shuttles. (Cory Correia/CBC)

TransLink users will be able to sign onto free Wi-Fi while riding the bus, SkyTrain or SeaBus starting in 2020.

The public transit provider announced plans to partner with Shaw Communications on the service, making it the first transit authority in Canada to do so, according to TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond.

"We have half-a-million people ride our system every day, and when we ask them what they'd like to see on transit, Wi-Fi is one of the most frequent requests," said Desmond in a news release.

The network will be an extension of the Shaw Go Wi-Fi network, but it will be accessible by people who aren't Shaw customers.

TransLink and Shaw will work out the details over the next few months, including issues like whether advertising will be part of the plan, and whether bandwidth will be limited, or "throttled."

"The Wi-Fi project in and of itself is not meant to be the revenue generator for TransLink," said Desmond.

"The purpose of this is to provide an add-value, really, for our customers. So we're not expecting to commercialize our customers access to the free network," he said.

Free Wi-Fi has already been available at SeaBus terminals and aboard the boat.

Shaw and TransLink plan to run trials throughout 2019 before launching the system-wide service. The roll-out is scheduled to be complete by 2025.

Eventually, the free Wi-Fi service will include HandyDART, West Coast Express and community shuttle buses.

With files from Cory Corriea.

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