Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Councillor Josh Matlow wants free Wi-Fi in Toronto's public spaces

Councillor Josh Matlow wants the city to look at providing free Wi-Fi in spots around Toronto.

Matlow's request for city staff to study the idea goes to the economic development committee Tuesday.

The Ward 22, St. Paul's councillor wants a report back by March 2014 on how city council could provide free wireless Internet access in public parks, squares and business improvement areas.

He hopes to have a pilot project up and running in Nathan Phillips Square by the end of 2014.

"It's a public service, it also can contribute to narrowing an equity gap … this also provides opportunity for tourists," Matlow told the Sun.

In his letter to the committee, Matlow argues free wifi zones will prove Toronto is a tech-savvy city.

"It’s time for Toronto not just to catch up with the opportunities of the 21st century, but to lead our peer cities in public wireless Internet access," Matlow writes.

His letter goes on to paint a vivid picture of a Toronto with free, city-provided Wi-Fi.

"Imagine being able to work seamlessly under a tree in Mel Lastman Square or overlooking a baseball game in Christie Pitts Park. Not every city is blessed with great parks and public spaces like Toronto; we should take every excuse to get out and enjoy them, even if we are on the clock at work," Matlow writes.

He adds that tourists would also benefit from free public Wi-Fi.

"A city that provides free public Wi-Fi enables tourists to find their way off the beaten path to spend money in our neighbourhoods and get a more personal, authentic experience that will make them want to come back and visit again," he states.
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