Free wireless hot spots coming soon to Saskatoon

The Calvert government announced another election year carrot yesterday unveiling its plan to create the “largest free wireless Internet network in Canada.”The province will invest approximately $1.3 million dollars to install wireless transmitters in various “hot spots” through Saskatoon, Regina, Moose Jaw and Prince Albert. They’ll also foot the bill for the service costs which are estimated to be around $340,000 a year. The “Saskatchewan Connected” initiative should be up and running by May of this year.

Saskatoon residents can expect free wireless service in a number of locations including the downtown Saskatoon area, the University of Saskatchewan, SIAST and the Broadway business district. There is some possibility that wireless zones may be expanded in the future.

At the announcement, Premier Calvert said, “We need to keep Saskatchewan at the forefront…of information technology” and added that the initiative will “contribute significantly to the progressive image of our communities.”

Andrew Thomson, the minister responsible for information technology suggested that you may not want to move too quickly in dumping your current Internet service provider. He promised that the service would be superior to dial-up, but it won’t meet high-speed specifications. Secure transactions are not recommended. Porn and gambling sites will not be accessible.

Personally, I think it’s long overdue and a pretty cool move but I expect that the Calvert government’s hope that it will “attract and retain” young people in the province is a bit of a stretch.

Norm Fisher

Royal LePage Vidorra


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