Halifax, Dartmouth looking to add free public Wi-Fi access in 2015

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HALIFAX – If you’re looking for a break from expensive data costs on your next cell phone bill, there could soon be options for you in downtown Halifax and Dartmouth.

The Halifax Regional Municipality has put a call out for ideas on how to implement publicly accessible wireless internet hotspots in several downtown locales on both sides of the harbour.

The city issued a request for information (RFI) on Thursday to explore possibly adding the hotspots as part of a five-year, $50-million capital improvement campaign.

According to the document, the proposed network would have to cover the following areas:

  • Dartmouth: Ferry Terminal Park, Alderney Landing, Sullivan’s Pond, Prince Albert Road, Canal Greenway, Dartmouth Commons, Birch Cove Beach, Ochterloney Street
  • Halifax: Waterfront, Barrington Street, Argyle Street, Grand Parade Square, Citadel Hill, Spring Garden Road, Quinpool Road
  • Metro Transit ferries

The aim is to have the network ready by spring 2015, with minimal service on at least both waterfronts and the ferries by March 31, 2015.

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Although there would be free public access, the city is seeking private business partners to help subsidize the cost, which could include “freemium” models for users — basic service would provided at no charge and premium service would cost extra.

The city says the project will improve the experience of tourists and provide increased “economic development opportunities”.

Submissions are due by July 31 and a recommendation will be made to city council in the fall.