Vancouver council approves plan to expand free Wi-Fi in Downtown Eastside

A free wifi sign on a Winnipeg Transit bus. Randall Paull/Global News

Vancouver city council voted Wednesday to look at ways to expand access to free public Wi-Fi in the Downtown Eastside.

The motion, submitted by Coun. Christine Boyle, cited the idea as a key way to help breach the “digital divide” in the city’s lowest-income neighbourhood.

“As the world moves more and more online, those without connectivity are being left behind,” the motion states.

Click to play video: 'TransLink will bring free WiFi to Metro Vancouver transit'
TransLink will bring free WiFi to Metro Vancouver transit

Access to free internet is particularly important to people experiencing homelessness, the motion states, helping them access critical resources and stay in touch with loved ones.

Story continues below advertisement

Many key public services including the city’s shelter hotline, telehealth and 811 nurse services, weather and health alerts all require cellular or internet access, it notes.

Vancouver currently provides 521 free public Wi-Fi locations through a partnership with Telus and Rogers, many of them in public libraries and other municipal buildings.

The plan approved Wednesday directs city staff to come back with a plan, timeline and budget to expand Wi-Fi access in the Downtown Eastside by the end of 2024.


Sponsored content