Item - 2013.ED24.10

Tracking Status

  • City Council adopted this item on October 8, 2013 without amendments.
  • This item was considered by Economic Development Committee on September 17, 2013 and was adopted with amendments. It will be considered by City Council on October 8, 2013.

ED24.10 - Establishment of Free Public Wireless Internet in Toronto's Parks, Civic Squares, Privately-owned Public Spaces and Interested Business Improvement Areas - Request for Report

Decision Type:
ACTION
Status:
Adopted
Wards:
All

City Council Decision

City Council on October 8, 9, 10 and 11, 2013, adopted the following:

 

1.         City Council refer the letter (August 30, 2013) from Councillor Josh Matlow to the Government Management Committee for consideration.

Background Information (Committee)

(August 30, 2013) Letter from Councillor Josh Matlow, Ward 22, St. Paul's on the Establishment of Free Public Wireless Internet in Toronto's Parks, Civic Squares, Privately-owned Public Spaces and Interested Business Improvement Areas
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2013/ed/bgrd/backgroundfile-61250.pdf

Communications (Committee)

(September 15, 2013) E-mail from Rishabh Kumar (ED.New.ED24.10.1)
(September 17, 2013) Submission from Mathew Pope (ED.New.ED24.10.2)

Motions (City Council)

Motion to Adopt Item (Carried)

Vote (Adopt Item) Oct-08-2013 7:47 PM

Result: Carried Majority Required - ED24.10 - Adopt the item
Total members that voted Yes: 41 Members that voted Yes are Paul Ainslie, Maria Augimeri, Michelle Berardinetti, Shelley Carroll, Raymond Cho, Josh Colle, Gary Crawford, Vincent Crisanti, Janet Davis, Glenn De Baeremaeker, Mike Del Grande, Frank Di Giorgio, Sarah Doucette, John Filion, Paula Fletcher, Doug Ford, Rob Ford, Mary Fragedakis, Mark Grimes, Norman Kelly, Mike Layton, Chin Lee, Giorgio Mammoliti, Josh Matlow, Pam McConnell, Mary-Margaret McMahon, Joe Mihevc, Peter Milczyn, Denzil Minnan-Wong, Ron Moeser, Frances Nunziata (Chair), Cesar Palacio, John Parker, James Pasternak, Gord Perks, Anthony Perruzza, Jaye Robinson, David Shiner, Karen Stintz, Michael Thompson, Kristyn Wong-Tam
Total members that voted No: 1 Members that voted No are Adam Vaughan
Total members that were Absent: 2 Members that were absent are Ana Bail„o, Gloria Lindsay Luby

ED24.10 - Establishment of Free Public Wireless Internet in Toronto's Parks, Civic Squares, Privately-owned Public Spaces and Interested Business Improvement Areas - Request for Report

Decision Type:
ACTION
Status:
Amended
Wards:
All

Committee Recommendations

The Economic Development Committee recommends that:

 

1.         City Council refer the letter (August 30, 2013) from Councillor Josh Matlow to the Government Management Committee for consideration.

Origin

(August 30, 2013) Letter from Councillor Josh Matlow, Ward 22, St. Paul's

Summary

Almost a decade ago, the City of Toronto partnered with Toronto Hydro to provide free wireless internet to the public in the downtown core. Unfortunately, this experiment faltered when it became a pay-for-use service hardly distinguishable from those services offered by for-profit corporations like Rogers and Bell.

 

Since then, we have fallen behind Canadian cities like Fredericton, New Brunswick, which offers free wi-fi coverage city-wide, and Edmonton, Alberta. An even greater concern for the City of Toronto should be the progress made by our closest competitors, including Chicago and New York City, where the municipal governments have used public-private partnerships to roll out extensive free wi-fi coverage.

 

I am writing to request that we re-visit this initiative and move quickly to provide free, reliable public wi-fi in our parks, the squares and plazas at our civic centres across the City including Nathan Phillips Square, and privately-owned public spaces (POPS). We should also work with our Business Improvement Area partners to facilitate wi-fi business districts.

 

Providing free public wi-fi in our parks and public spaces will signal to technology developers that Toronto is a tech-savvy jurisdiction and an excellent place to settle and do business. We already have a flourishing high-tech sector that has attracted the attention of tech giants like Google and Apple; we need to redouble our efforts to become an environment that supports the next Google.

 

In addition, free public wi-fi is an indispensible amenity for an increasing number of global tourists. International cellular data is expensive and inaccessible for most travellers who instead rely on infrequent and unreliable hotspots in some cafes and hotel lobbies. A city that provides free public wi-fi enables tourists to find their way off the beaten path to spend money in our neighbourhoods and get a more personal, authentic experience that will make them want to come back and visit again.

 

Finally, let’s not overlook the direct quality-of-life benefits for residents of Toronto. Imagine being able to work seamlessly under a tree in Mel Lastman Square or overlooking a baseball game in Christie Pitts Park. Not every city is blessed with great parks and public spaces like Toronto; we should take every excuse to get out and enjoy them, even if we are on the clock at work.

 

It’s time for Toronto not just to catch up with the opportunities of the twenty-first century, but to lead our peer cities in public wireless internet access.

Background Information

(August 30, 2013) Letter from Councillor Josh Matlow, Ward 22, St. Paul's on the Establishment of Free Public Wireless Internet in Toronto's Parks, Civic Squares, Privately-owned Public Spaces and Interested Business Improvement Areas
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2013/ed/bgrd/backgroundfile-61250.pdf

Communications

(September 15, 2013) E-mail from Rishabh Kumar (ED.New.ED24.10.1)
(September 17, 2013) Submission from Mathew Pope (ED.New.ED24.10.2)

Speakers

Matthew Pope, Yonge Networks

Motions

Motion to Amend Item moved by Councillor Michael Thompson (Carried)

That City Council refer the letter (August 30, 2013) from Councillor Josh Matlow to the Government Management Committee for consideration.

Source: Toronto City Clerk at www.toronto.ca/council