Toronto Councillor Josh Matlow (Ward 22 St. Paul’s) is asking the rest of council today to adopt his motion for FREE Wi-Fi to be provided by the city in hotspots like municipal parks and Toronto Community Housing buildings.
The economic development committee voted to support his motion.
The city failed with this approach back in 2006 with Toronto Hydro Telecom’s One Zone service.
Since then, many cities have launched their own services. San Francisco is one of those cities. Even Fredericton offers free internet access!
Matlow believes that the city is now more “tech-friendly”, and that this will attract businesses to the city.
It will also help give Toronto Community Housing residents a helping hand. “There are so many residents in TCH buildings who don’t have access to high-speed Internet,” he said. “If we can provide the connectivity to employment and education, we could change lives.”
Large telecoms like Rogers and Bell have protested in the past, arguing that such an approach would offer unfair competition to the market.
Do you think Toronto should offer internet to parts of the city for free? TCHC properties are in such a poor state right now, with a repair backlog amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars, and THIS is what the city is concerned about?
Los Angeles estimates that free wi-fi in their jurisdiction would cost anywhere from $60 million to $5 BILLION. At that price tag, is it really worth it?