In 2015, The Olds Institute directed funds from its social enterprises Mountain View Power and O-NET to the development of a free public WiFi network in the town of Olds. There are currently more than 80 hotspot locations in and around businesses, and another 19 outdoor access points in parks, campgrounds, exhibition grounds, schools and commercial areas within the community.75 Approximately 11,000 people connect to this network every month, on average. Another 2,600 devices connect monthly to the network that has been developed within the Olds Hospital and Care Centre (patients have access to free WiFi and can receive their O-NET services while in care).76
The City of Edmonton is offering a program called Wireless Edmonton that provides free public WiFi in some of the City’s publicly accessible facilities. More than 14,000 devices connect to Edmonton’s “Open City Wi-Fi” every week, utilizing more than 2TB of data traffic. The service routinely accepts over 4,500 concurrent sessions during peak periods.77
The City of Calgary has also launched public WiFi access in many of its facilities, such as recreation centres, golf courses, and C-Train stations. The City awarded the contract to provide public WiFi to Shaw Communications, who provide access through the Shaw Go WiFi service. Any user is able to utilize the service and does not need to be a Shaw customer. Out of the 40+ locations offering public WiFi, the City Hall C-Train station is the most popular, with over 36,000 users every month.78
Smaller municipalities in Alberta also provide free WiFi. Grande Prairie announced its public WiFi initiative in 2013, and leveraged a Building Canada grant to split the funding of the deployment over three levels of government. Its WiFi service not only provides internet to the public, but also connects traffic signals in the city to help optimize traffic flow.79
On a much smaller scale, the town of Hanna provides WiFi to residents and visitors in and near most municipal buildings, and Vulcan was one of the first counties to provide public WiFi access in its downtown in 2009.80, 81
75. Olds Institute. E-mail communication with Mitch Thomson, 8 July 2016.
76. O-NET. Community WiFi Hotspot Map. 22 April 2016. Accessed 20 May 2016.
77. City of Edmonton. Open City WiFi. Accessed 26 May 2016.
78. Calgary Transit. We’ve expanded public Wi-Fi to CTrain stations in the downtown corridor. March 2, 2016. 2 March 2016. Accessed 8 June 2016.
79. Adam Jackson. Outdoor WiFi on its way to Grande Prairie. Grande Prairie Daily Herald Tribune. March 27, 2013. Accessed 8 June 2016.
80. Town of Hanna Public Wireless FAQ. Accessed 19 May 2016.
81. Kevin Rushworth. Wi-Fi access hits downtown Vulcan. Vulcan Advocate. August 3, 2009. Accessed 8 June, 2016.