CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - Dec. 20, 2013) - The City of Calgary has awarded Shaw Communications Inc. (TSX:SJR.B) (NYSE:SJR) with the contract to provide public Wi-Fi in City-owned locations. The Request for Proposal closed in March 2013, and outlined specific criteria for The City's public Wi-Fi program. Applicants were required to provide a positive user experience, have technical expertise and resources to support the public Wi-Fi service, be compliant with industry regulations and maintain a service delivery model. After the evaluation process was completed by a team of City departments, Shaw was deemed to have the best proposal and have been awarded the contract.
Currently, The City and Shaw Communications Inc. are in discussions to establish the details of the Wi-Fi program and will work together to install Wi-Fi zones at city facilities with high public traffic such as recreation facilities, parks, and LRT stations. In 2012, Calgary Transit had 102 million riders on their system, and nearly 2 million citizens purchased a drop-in pass at a recreation facility.
"The City manages a variety of public spaces and we were looking to partner with an organization that would be able to provide reliable Wi-Fi services, at no cost to citizens, as well as meet industry regulations and provide technical support," says Heather Reed-Fenske, manager, Information Technology. "Our goal is to provide citizens with fast and reliable Wi-Fi, and give city departments the ability to enhance the customer experience at City facilities," Reed-Fenske adds.
Public Wi-Fi will be available in a select number of public spaces during the initial launch of the program, and will be available to all members of the public, unlike the existing Shaw Go WiFi service, which is available only to Shaw customers. The City will provide Shaw with access to city facilities and shared marketing opportunities in exchange for Shaw's wireless services and support. Citizens will benefit from enhanced Wi-Fi coverage in core locations and Internet speeds currently available to Shaw customers. Public Wi-Fi is a community asset which The City can leverage to provide new services to citizens.
"This agreement is another exciting step in our goal of extending our industry-leading Internet service outside the home," said Brad Shaw, CEO, Shaw Communications Inc. "Thousands of our customers have told us how much they love Shaw Go WiFi, and extending access into Calgary municipal facilities will only add more value to the service."
"Free public Wi-Fi is not just about technology," says Mayor Naheed Nenshi. "It's about giving Calgarians greater access to City services and the world. I'm thrilled that Shaw will join with us as we fulfill Council's goal to create a highly-connected community."
The City of Calgary will collect citizen feedback to evaluate the success of the program once the initial sites are operational. A separate announcement will detail when citizens can expect services to be available.