Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 9/7/2008 (3274 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The Sausage Factory, and it’s dead-tree edition, continue to be immensely disappointed at the failure of Mayor Sam Katz
to follow through with his promise to blanket the city’s downtown in free WIFI Internet access. This was one of the few pledges Katz made in his original election campaign that aimed to actually transform the city, and not just patch it up. Katz ultimately unveiled his grand plan – a pay-for-use contract with Manitoba Telecom Services
to provide WIFI in city-owned buildings including libraries, recreation centres and pools.As much as I’m disappointed with that sham of a plan, nothing could prepare me for my disappointment at what has been done WIFI-wise at the Winnipeg Convention Centre. I am currently covering the Crystal Taman
inquiry, which is being held at the WCC. This city-owned facility formerly offered WIFI through the Bell-Rogers-Fido-Telus “Hotspot” consortium. Although it was pay-for-use, it was very reliable and a great spot to stop for WIFI downtown (open long hours, lots of places to sit down, no need to buy a coffee just to justify a quick WIFI hit). Now, however, the WCC is providing its own WIFI, and doing so in a rather obscene fashion.First, after signing on to the WCC WIFI homepage, you find out that you cannot subscribe to their service on-line. You have to call a phone number to register and pay. Making wifi customers dial in to create an account is so incredibly backward, I don’t know what to say. But it’s only after calling the number listed on the homepage that the real joke is unveiled.Get ready - $100 for two days worth of access.Shut the front door!Most commercial WIFI ISPs offer their services for between $30 and $40 per month, unlimited access. Even on a daily basis, it would be hard to find a service that charges more than about $15.So, the marquee meeting place in Winnipeg, the place where we welcome all kinds of conventions, trade shows and special events is offering WIFI that you cannot subscribe to on line and at a rate that puts it well outside the budget of even the wealthiest business traveller. We just can't get this one right. Even in our public libraries, where hard-wired internet access if free, we cannot do what virtually every other library in North America has done - offer free wireless to acknowledge the new wireless age.I have a suggestion for the new city slogan.Winnipeg: Enduringly Backward.-30-