CBC News – December 10, 2012

Hamilton is spending $30,000 to get rid of its downtown public wireless internet access service.

With Wi-Fi already provided at many restaurants, coffee shops and hotels, the city’s downtown Wi-Fi service is outdated, unreliable and redundant, councillors heard Monday morning when they voted to discontinue the service.

“We don’t need to be in this service and it was never in our core services, so I’m pleased to see it die a natural death,” Coun. Brad Clark of Stoney Creek said during an audit, finance and administration committee meeting.

The city spends about $90,000 per year to provide Wi-Fi in the core. But the five-year-old technology is obsolete, and upgrading it would cost about $115,000 per year, said Roberto Rossini, general manager of finance and corporate services. The upgrade would include increasing the number of Wi-Fi access points from 63 to 90.

The $30,000 decommissioning fee will cover the cost of removing the city’s public Wi-Fi access points.

Gerry Murphy, chair of the Downtown BIA, said the change will have no effect on downtown businesses.

“Everyone has their own providers,” he said. “Quite frankly, I didn’t even know there was a service for downtown. I have an iPad here and it does not pick it up, so I don’t know what the purpose of it is.”

Neil Everson, director of economic development, said he hasn’t received any complaints about the city getting rid of the Wi-Fi system.

“I don’t see an impact economically,” he said.

Coun. Russ Powers said he took a walk through downtown with his iPad on the weekend and was able to get Wi-Fi access “even in so-called dead spots.”

The city’s public Wi-Fi system has been in place since 2007.