Saanich buildings get wired on

Wireless Internet available at Saanich rec centres, fire halls, municipal hall, public works yard

You can now access the Internet from your phone, tablet or MP3 player – free of charge – from inside many Saanich-run buildings.

Free WiFi is now available at all Saanich rec centres, along with the three fire halls, the public works yard and municipal hall.

“I think, in general, it’s becoming a bit of an expectation that the service of WiFi is provided at locations by somebody, and a lot of cities have really gone with as much publicly accessible WiFi as possible,” said Jon Woodland, assistant manager of infrastructure in Saanich’s information technology department.

The program has been up and running for a couple months now, and Woodland says feedback has been all positive.

“Just before we were getting ready to deploy we asked, ‘What’s the current status of what people are saying about how safe WiFi is around us?’” he said. “The research showed that there were no effect known, so we put that into our information, and we haven’t had any complaints whatsoever.”

The free network – called Saanich WiFi – is an unsecured network, and users are cautioned about allowing file sharing on their devices when they’re connected.

“We also have everything going through web filters, which filters out inappropriate sites. We don’t want people surfing for unsavoury stuff in public places,” Woodland said.

The cost to implement the wireless Internet network “wasn’t too high,” he added, saying the municipality had a $20,000 credit to use from Bell.

While this is likely as expansive as the project will get, Woodland said Saanich is looking for partnerships that can help provide free WiFi at parks during Saanich events.

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