Yaletown launches free public Wi-Fi and solar-powered charging stations

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      Yaletown has become the first district in Vancouver to offer its visitors free public Wi-Fi access and daylight-powered charging stations.

      Dubbed “Yaletown Free Wi-Fi”, the network will be available to anyone with a mobile device on Mainland Street between Davie Street and Smithe Street. No sign-ups or security passwords are required to access the service.

      Internet coverage will be expanded to Hamilton Street and Homer Street before the end of summer.

      “Yaletown has long been an attractive draw for tourists,” said Ty Speer, CEO and president of Tourism Vancouver, in a press statement. “This move to provide Wi-Fi for visitors helps to further put Yaletown on the map, and helps to continue to put Vancouver on the online map via social media and photo sharing.”

      The Wi-Fi service, which has been in the works by the Yaletown Business Improvement Association since 2014, is complemented by two newly launched charging stations at Mainland and Nelson and on Hamilton Street between Helmcken and Nelson.

      Powered by the sun, the stations are situated beside benches so that tourists and citizens alike may take five to recharge their smartphones, tablets, and other devices while exploring the district.

      This isn’t the first time that complimentary Wi-Fi has been made available to Vancouverites in certain areas. In 2014, Telus conducted a pilot program that offered commuters Internet access on select TransLink bus routes, while the following year saw the City of Vancouver launching free Wi-Fi hotspots at seven community centres around town.

      Most recently, Shaw expressed its interest in establishing complimentary Internet access across Mobi’s designated bike-sharing zone, which covers the Downtown Peninsula and is bounded by Arbutus Street, 16th Avenue, and Main Street. However, these plans have yet to come to fruition.

      Follow Lucy Lau on Twitter @lucylau.