Free use of OneZone in downtown Toronto, provided by Toronto Hydro Telecom, came to an end last month. Users can now purchase access by the hour, day or month (CDN$4.99, 9.99 and 29.99 respectfully plus PST and GST – or about 30-50% less than the Bell/Telus/Rogers HotSpot service).
Toronto Hyrdo Telecom recently launched the initial phase of their OneZone wi-fi service in downtown Toronto. Access is free during the first 6 months but you’ll need to provide a cell phone number if you want to try out the service. The sign up process sends an SMS message with the new user’s username and password.
Continue reading Toronto Wi-Fi – Toronto Hydro Telecom’s OneZone
Rogers is now offering “portable Internet” service based on pre-WiMax technology in 20 cities across Canada. The 2.5 Gigahertz solution offers 1.5Mbps downstream speeds and 256kbps up, with a 30Gig monthly cap, for $49.95 / month (modem costs $100). “Portable” means the modem still needs to be plugged in, so its not the same as mobile.
Apparently, Rogers Communications and Bell Canada (the cable guys and the phone company) have pooled their licensed wireless broadband spectrum into a new company – Inukshuk Internet – which will build and operate the network. Expectation is that within three years, they will be able to offer service to two-thirds of Canadians (40 cities and approximately 50 rural and remote communities). Although Rogers and Bell will share bandwidth, each will compete for its own subscribers.
I had a look at the description of the wi-fi network that Toronto Hydro Telecom is proposing to build and found the following quote:
Additionally, not only will the Toronto Hydro Telecom Wi Fi network cover six kilometers in the heart of Torontoâ€™s downtown core, it will provide service that is at least ten times faster than that of our competitors.
Personally, I think it would be more correct to say that the service will be AT MOST ten times faster, not AT LEAST. The maximum speed of the repeater to home user connection may be 10 times faster, but depending on the distance the speed may drop down to as low as 1 meg per second (only a fraction of the total maximum potential). Furthermore, it may be a little misleading to focus on the speed of that link only since TYT’s proposal to use mesh technology to deliver the service will mean that speed bottlenecks may be created on the backhaul between the various repeaters and a base station connected to TYT’s fibre backbone. The useful speed of the service may therefore also be much less than the potential being suggested. Cable and DSL also have certain bottleneck type issues. However, my point is that it is misleading to only look at the link speed of one segment in the network and use that as the basis for comparing the speed of the service.
That being said, the proposed service looks like a good initiative that hopefully will bring more competition to at least a small part of the Greater Toronto Area.
According to the Globe and Mail, Toronto Hydro Telecom is expected to announce that the creation of a city-wide wi-fi wireless network based on repeaters installed on street light poles. Toronto Hydro Telecom already provides broadband data services throughout the GTA using over 450 kilometers of fibre optic cable and its network connects to over 400 commercial buildings. I have not seen details about the specific technology THT plans to deploy but suspect that it may not be suitable for high bandwidth applications or applications that require low latency (since packets may need to bounce through multiple repeaters before reaching a base station).
From what I can tell, many libraries in the US and even other Canadian cities have been implementing wireless Internet access for their patrons to use in the library. However, the Toronto area libraries (Toronto Public Library, Richmond Hill Public Library, Vaughan Public Library) seem to be moving slowly. From what I can tell, wireless Internet access is only available at a single VPL branch (The Pierre Berton branch in Woodbridge). I’m not sure why this is the case. Most branches offer public access computers that are connected to the Internet. Why not make it easier for students and other patrons that wish to use their own laptop while studying or doing research at the library.
More than half the customers are hunched over laptops, as is the owner. This is apparently a meeting place for “open source enthusiasts.” Open only five months, Linux uses only local ingredients that are picked up in an environmentally friendly kid’s wagon. … But people obviously come here more for the Wi-Fi access, great coffee (fair-trade from i deal), cheery music, plants and huge windows. It’s an office away from the office.
This place has become the meeting spot for a number of local tech groups.