City wifi pilot discovered by some users

They’ve been quietly keeping it under wraps, but it turns out that for the past few months Langley City has been a Lower Mainland hot spot.

  • Oct. 19, 2011 3:00 p.m.

They’ve been quietly keeping it under wraps, but it turns out that for the past few months Langley City has been a Lower Mainland hot spot.

Since July, the City has been quietly experimenting with wireless internet at the Spirit Square in Douglas Park and down the street at the Timms Recreation Centre.

The wifi pilot project hasn’t been advertised, but a number of people have already stumbled across the hot spots with their laptops, smart phones and tablets.

“It’s a big secret, but it’s been used quite a bit,” said Ken Ogden, manager of information services for the City, as he presented the findings to council on Oct. 3.

Beginning with 303 sessions in July and climbing to 439 in September, use of the City’s free wifi has been steadily climbing, he said. Staff are now looking at installing more access points throughout the City at a cost of roughly $300 per router, he added.

In order to do that, Ogden said, the municipality has to secure a number of new access points.

Though no overtures have yet been made, Ogden said locations such as Al Anderson pool, Penzer Park, Langley Community Music School  would be ideal.

And he has already  been in touch with the Downtown Langley Merchants  Association about installing wifi throughout the downtown core.

Before they can log on, users must accept the City’s terms and then are permitted up to three hours of free internet access.

The time limit is intended to keep residents of nearby apartments from piggybacking indefinitely on the hot spot.

Councillor Gayle Martin asked whether a system could be set up to charge users a fee after their three free hours had expired.

“The minute you charge, you’re responsible for maintaining service,” said Mayor Peter Fassbender.

“We need to look at the implications on all issues, then council can make a policy decision.”