Calgary and Shaw Communications expand Wi-Fi to public recreation facilities


The City of Calgary is carrying on the trend of bringing free Wi-Fi to the masses.

Along with Shaw Communications, the municipality will now provide Wi-Fi access in 27 public recreational locations. Some of these include the Calgary Soccer Centre and the Calgary Zoo.

A contract between the City of Calgary and Shaw Communications permitting Shaw to provide Wi-Fi access to city-owned locations was finalized in December, 2013. The contract covered 40 public locations which included recreation centres, arenas, golf courses and LRT stations. The service is available to anyone and does not require a Shaw account.

“Calgary is a connected community, and Recreation is committed to providing customers with access to online services and information,” Heather Cowie, regional manager with Calgary Recreation, said in a statement.

“Our facilities serve as community hubs and this partnership with Shaw Communications creates more ways for people to connect to their community and their world.”

Guests simply need to elect “ShawGuest” from the drop-down menu of available networks on their device and follow the on-screen instructions to connect. Shaw customers will be automatically logged onto the service.

So far, the most popular Wi-Fi enabled location based on number of guest connections is the Southland Leisure Centre, which has seen 160 thousand connections to the public Wi-Fi service since 2014. In total, Calgary’s public Wi-Fi service has seen over 3 million connections in total with a total data usage of 4 million MB.

“Recreational centres play an integral role in bringing communities together,” Greg Pultz, vice president of operations at Shaw Communications, said in a statement.

“The partnership with the City of Calgary to provide free public WiFi through the Shaw Go WiFi network helps keep residents connected to the world and everything in it while saving their mobile data.”

Calgary is among many cities in Canada moving to provide free Wi-Fi access to the public in city-owned locations. The City of Toronto has also led several of these initiatives, though other than providing access at TTC subway stops the project has come to a halt. Vancouver, on the other hand, has begun implementing free Wi-Fi access through provider Telus in several locations, as well as in cabs.

Smaller municipalities such as London and Fredericton have also gone so far as to provide free Wi-Fi to their constituents in public locations. The Toronto Star speculates that it’s more difficult for larger cities to deploy solutions like this than it is for their smaller counterparts.

RelatedTelus continues free WiFi rollout in Vancouver, now available in 21 locations

[source]City of Calgary[/source]