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Friday, August 22, 2014
Saskatchewan

PROVINCE TO PROVIDE FREE WIRELESS INTERNET ACCESS

Residents and visitors to the downtown business districts and post-secondary institutions of Saskatchewan’s four largest centres will soon be able to access the country’s largest wireless Internet network, free-of-charge.  Premier Lorne Calvert and Minister responsible for Information Technology Andrew Thomson made the announcement today in Saskatoon.

The Saskatchewan! Connected initiative will offer users basic Internet service in Saskatoon, Prince Albert, Regina, and Moose Jaw via a wireless Wi-Fi network to be operated by the government Information Technology Office, SaskTel and other partners.  The service will also be available in select business districts in close proximity to downtown Saskatoon and Regina.

“Expanding the province’s information technology infrastructure was one of the many ideas presented by Saskatchewan youth at the recent Youth Summit in Saskatoon,” Calvert said.  “This exciting initiative is just one more way of enhancing the progressive image of Saskatchewan’s communities as the best place for young people to work, live and build strong futures.”

Saskatchewan! Connected means users will no longer have to switch from service to service as they roam around the coverage area.  It will also help to bridge the ‘digital divide’ by providing no-cost Internet access to residents of the areas who may be unable to afford monthly rates for Internet access.  Any existing desktop or laptop computer can be configured with a Wi-Fi adaptor for under $100 and then connected quickly and conveniently to the free service.

Work on the project will begin shortly, with the service expected to be available to users this spring.  As a publicly-accessible network, special provisions will be made to prevent access to inappropriate materials.

“The service will help businesses attract customers, while also benefiting business people visiting our province, youth and others,” Thomson said.  “Saskatchewan! Connected will be the largest free Wi Fi network in Canada, demonstrating once again that Saskatchewan is a leader in innovation and technology advancement.”

The capital cost of the project will be $1.3 million, with annual operating costs of $339,000.  For more information on the program please visit www.saskatchewan.ca/connected.

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For more information, contact:

Richard Murray
Information Technology Office
Regina
Phone: 306-536-4758
Email: rmurray@gov.sk.ca 

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