Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×

Toronto to Become One Huge Hotspot 283

8127972 writes "The Toronto Star is reporting that Toronto Hydro is about to announce plans to make all of Toronto Canada a huge wireless hotspot. The project could go live as early as this fall and hopes to bring low cost Internet access to millions of Toronto citizens. In the process it will challenge the Canadian telcos for a share of the $8 billion (CDN) a year wireless market."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Toronto to Become One Huge Hotspot

Comments Filter:
  • ...just kidding - I realise it couldn't spread that far. Now, Etobicoke - *they* have something to cheer about!
  • by coaxeus ( 911103 ) * on Monday March 06, 2006 @04:58PM (#14861508) Homepage
    I've heard that Calgary, Alberta is looking at doing the same. Various companies in town have been asked to present proposals, ranging from cellular companies, telcos, isps, and tech firms. One of the latter I'm familiar with has proposed a cisco mesh solution using new aerospace gear. The plan is to use this network for emergency services and the like, at first anyway. Streaming video form security cameras to a squad car at 120mph for example. That = challenging for 802.11.
  • Homeless (Score:3, Insightful)

    by killmenow ( 184444 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @04:58PM (#14861515)
    Well, I spent a week in Toronto once. There were seemingly a lot of homeless people sleeping on the sidewalks every night. I'm not sure there is a better social service than making sure they have wireless Internet.
    • Re:Homeless (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Cruciform ( 42896 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @05:11PM (#14861667) Homepage
      Some of them [canoe.ca] make a lot more money than most Slashdot readers.

      I've talked to panhandlers that take in over $60 an hour tax free every day.

      The homeless you see sleeping on the street are typically the mentally ill. They have options available to them for shelter but due to their mental condition they end up leaving for one reason or another.

      I bet within 5 years of the wireless system being implemented you'll hear someone in office suggest that we should tag the mentally ill homeless so they can be located and retrieved when they wander from shelters.
      • Re:Homeless (Score:3, Insightful)

        by killmenow ( 184444 )

        I've talked to panhandlers that take in over $60 an hour tax free every day.

        That may be true and all; but, my experience tells me that for every Shaky Lady there are a dozen legitimately homeless people either mentally ill or drug addicted or something along those lines. I'm sick of hearing from people how we're being duped by unscrupulous cheats who just don't want to work and will sit there and scam people out of cash all day. You know what I think: more power to them. If it's such a lucrative caree

        • Re:Homeless (Score:3, Informative)

          by ClickOnThis ( 137803 )
          I actually spoke to some local Toronto(ans? ites?)

          Torontonians, actually. But most just say "I'm from Trawna". ;-)
        • The people you see on the streets are the ones who fight for the prime locations. I'd say that ups the odds that they're scum. They also stand alone. There's a reason they stand alone.

          I don't give them a penny. I used to, but I regret every cent. People who give to panhandlers are enabling those who should be spending their time putting their lives back together rather than honing their act.

          Even the homeless newspapers are a fraudulent industry preying on the slave wages they can give the homeless.

          • I don't have a solution, but giving them money draws more scum to the street to abuse the "legitimate" homeless.

            The main solution is progressive homeless shelters. The majority of the homeless are not mentally ill, they are people down on their luck. Programs to get them off of addictions, into cheap housing, and into jobs for the most part work. Sure there are scammers and people who will just try to take advantage and mentally ill. They may or may not be helped, but if you want to do good, just donate

      • I bet within 5 years of the wireless system being implemented you'll hear someone in office suggest that we should tag the mentally ill homeless so they can be located and retrieved when they wander from shelters.
        And you'll have justified the reason they wear tinfoil hats, as the paranoid suspicion that the government is implanting tracking devices in their bodies will have come true.
      • Re:Homeless (Score:3, Insightful)

        by saforrest ( 184929 )
        I've talked to panhandlers that take in over $60 an hour tax free every day.

        I don't deny this happens — I've seen some cases myself — but I think it's talked about by passerbys like us much more than it really happens.

        My rationale here is essentially that the reward of believing that all (or most) homeless people are scammers is the ability to walk by while ignoring their pleas, without a guilty conscience. That emotional "reward" is so powerful, especially for people that are confronted by hom
        • I don't deny this happens -- I've seen some cases myself -- but I think it's talked about by passerbys like us much more than it really happens.

          I'm not so sure about this. I met a few homeless people and a number of people who work at the local shelter. I've also seen several people spontaneously have the same idea. Why don't we give the homeless some food. Try it some time. Make up a couple dozen sandwiches and go try to give them to the homeless people you see on the street begging for change. You'll g

      • Re: Mentally Ill (Score:5, Interesting)

        by aspillai ( 86002 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @06:35PM (#14862381) Homepage
        I'm not sure where you got that idea from. "Typically" implies majority. The truth is a number of homeless about equal to the mentally ill do not like shelters because they are afraid of them. (I say this from having worked at CMHA.)

        Shelters aren't hotel rooms. You have 20 - 30 packed into a room (within fire limits) and you rarely get a secure locker to put your belongings in. Also, in the cases where you do, it isn't a valet. No one is there to make sure you aren't persuaded to open your locker.

        The available options are quite poor. I'm not saying they need Royal York treatment here. But a better option with some high guarantees of safety will see a number going to shelters during the cold winter months. It is a measure of a society's progress when you see how cities treat their most vulnerable. Toronto does a horrible job and too many people think, 'If they just try, they'll be fine.' It is a serious problem with difficult but attainable solutions - if we want it.
      • Bull (Score:2, Insightful)

        by ylikone ( 589264 )
        >>I've talked to panhandlers that take in over $60 an hour tax free every day. Bull. Shit.

        If this were really the case, we'd see a LOT MORE people out there begging rather than working at their crappy $10/hour jobs.

        You are just spreading the conservative lies that the poor on the streets are lazy scammers. They are mentally ill. Not smart. Not rich.

      • Reminds me of a song by Lazy Boy, Underwear Goes Inside the Pants:

        We're in one of the richest countries in the world,
        but the minimum wage is lower than it was thirty five years ago.

        There are homeless people everywhere.

        This homeless guy asked me for money the other day.
        I was about to give it to him and then I thought he was going to use it on drugs or alcohol.

        And then I thought, that's what I'm going to use it on.
        Why am I judging this poor bastard.

        People love to judge homeless guys. Like if you give them mon
    • In Canada, we spend a lot on social programs, compared to most parts of the world. However, there will always be people that fall through the holes. Be it drug addiction, spousal abuse, family issues, mental illness. Its kind of sad, but a lot of homeless ppl are ppl with mental problems.
    • But the homeless need the wireless access so they can download email to their laptops, you insensitive clod!
    • by mindaktiviti ( 630001 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @05:56PM (#14862061)
      I remember a friend of mine once told me how one of his friends got stuck in downtown Toronto (lives in a suburb called Brampton) so he ends up pan handling for some change to get home.

      Turns out the money's so good he ends up staying an extra day and comes home with like $150! He was a teenager back and it's a lot of money for a teenager even by today's standards.
    • Well, I spent a week in Toronto once. There were seemingly a lot of homeless people sleeping on the sidewalks every night. I'm not sure there is a better social service than making sure they have wireless Internet.

      Seriously, Toronto is a Utopia compared to the homeless problem in Detroit. All cities have homeless people... And no amount of social services can solve the problem. Some cities need more social services though.
  • CN tower (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 06, 2006 @05:02PM (#14861561)
    I guess the CN tower kind of out does the linksys router +3dB antenna...
  • VOIP (Score:4, Interesting)

    by XMilkProject ( 935232 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @05:04PM (#14861588) Homepage
    So I could walk around town using my voip phone instead of a cell phone? Maybe just my PDA with a VOIP client? GoogleTalk for all local calls!? w00t!
    • Re:VOIP (Score:2, Interesting)

      by AndroidCat ( 229562 )
      I think I'll keep an eye on what PDAs with 802.11 are going for at the cheepy discount places. Being able to plant one just about anywhere (with a power source of some kind), and have it be able to connect back home is a nifty solution looking for problems to solve. Car alarms?
    • Re:VOIP (Score:3, Informative)

      by Niebieski ( 781986 )

      So I could walk around town using my voip phone instead of a cell phone? Maybe just my PDA with a VOIP client? GoogleTalk for all local calls!? w00t!

      Well, you could walk around between calls, because last I checked 802.11 soft handoffs did not exist. You could implement it in the hardware, but it'll still be hard handoffs.
  • He said Canada's largest municipal electrical utility, which last year purchased Toronto's street light system for $60 million, will likely install the necessary wireless transmitters and receivers atop every fourth or fifth lamp post as a way to blanket the city with coverage"

    I've got no knowledge in wireless networking, but to me this statement says that the wireless signal distance is no greater than the distance between five lamp posts; and that, given this, those areas without lamp posts (unpopulate

    • Re:One question (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kebes ( 861706 )
      those areas without lamp posts (unpopulated areas) will not receive any coverage

      You'd be hard-pressed to find a place in Toronto that is not within 20m of a lamp post. Seriously, take a quick look [google.com]. Even if this initiative is meant to include the "greater toronto area" (i.e. the city and its suburbs), every home will still be close enough to a lamp post. So there may be a few parks in the suburbs where you can't get WiFi at the centre of the park... but that's about it.

      Of course, this is all assuming
      • It is huge, but they have to read these meters somehow. It seems like a large initial cost, but don't think those people walking around read the meters for free. This could actually work out to a big costs savings
    • Something like WiMax [wikipedia.org] would address the "every streetlamp" problem. In fact, combine WiMax with BPL [wikipedia.org] and any given electric company could conceivable have an instant grid.
    • Actually 1/2 the distance between 5 lamposts, since you will use
      the closest of the two.

  • Pisses me off. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Yo Grark ( 465041 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @05:06PM (#14861606)
    This is the same company that went to the regulators and begged to have a "debt repayment" charge added to every consumer regardless if you were part of the original debt problem. Imagine being able to charge customers for your incompetance and making it clear you were doing so!

    You may think that having Toronto as one huge hotspot, and I might even think it was cool too if these weren't true:

    1. It's illegal to go off the grid.
    2. I'm paying for Toronto Hydro's "debt" which consisted of millions of dollars in self-appointed executive bonuses, even when they had severly unbalanced budgets.
    3. Toronto Hydro has blocked a lot of "green" ideas, every step of the way. Including subsidies to alleviate power problems.
    4. We pay almost almost 10.00 per kw solar power/panel to make sure it's not a viable option.
    5. Powering your house by Wind Power is illegal through "sound governance bilaws" even though the noise is quieter than an air conditioner.
    6. They artificially "Froze" prices because of public pressure only to raise prices overall to MORE than it would have cost in the first place.

    End Rant. Sorry, but it seems like a really cool thing, but like every other cool thing, this will come on the backs of those consumers who have no other choice but to allow them to spend money frivilously.

    Yes I have options to go to "brokers", yes I have options to go "all gas", but when I investigated thouse routes, believe it or not, Toronto Hydro was the lesser of all evils.

    Yo Grark
    • Re:Pisses me off. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 06, 2006 @05:21PM (#14861769)
      Actually, it's not the same company that had a "debt repayment" charge added to every consumer's bill. That was Ontario Hydro.
    • Think you mean Ontario Hydro - not Toronto Hydro. TH merely bills you.

      FAQ here [gov.on.ca]
    • Re:Pisses me off. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Qwavel ( 733416 )

      You are right, but that doesn't make this project a bad thing for the city. It just means that we must watch and question this company like any other.
    • Sounds a lot like NB Power (New Brunswick Power). The executives goof up a deal to buy Orimulsion from Venezuela, costing the company 100 billion dollars. And what happens? The executives get huge bonuses and severence pay, the company/province is billions in debt, and the consumers are expected to pay for it, to the tune of a 13.6% rate hike!

      I believe in publicly run monopolies on services like power and water, but I also believe that the people in charge should be held accountable for their actions, and
    • Re:Pisses me off. (Score:3, Informative)

      by Azarael ( 896715 )

      5. Powering your house by Wind Power is illegal through "sound governance bilaws" even though the noise is quieter than an air conditioner.

      I'm not sure where you mean, but it isn't illegal to have a wind generator north of the city. If I remember correctly, the ontario gov't was even offering a subsidy for people wanting to put one up. Now, if you tried putting one up in a subdivision, then I can see a problem as no one wants to have a 40 ft tower casting a shadow over their backyard.

      • Re:Pisses me off. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rtaylor ( 70602 )
        Now, if you tried putting one up in a subdivision, then I can see a problem as no one wants to have a 40 ft tower casting a shadow over their backyard.
        There are a few condos within Toronto that have a wind based generation on the roof.

        Not to mention Toronto Hydro is a member of WindShare -- the company that plunked a 1MW wind turbine about 5km from the downtown core.
  • and look forward to discussing Curling, Beer, and Hockey with them.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    As a corporate security guy working in Toronto, I'm not happy to read that Comrade Miller is going to make life that much more difficult for me. Thanks to this initiative, there will be a wireless network running (our building is right downtown) that users can switch to whenever they feel like accessing something that our content filters reject!
    • Thanks to this initiative, there will be a wireless network running (our building is right downtown) that users can switch to whenever they feel like accessing something that our content filters reject!

      The service isn't going to be free, so it will take more than a whim for someone to switch to the public network.

      However, it sounds like what you need is a tool which can lock down which wirreless networks your users can connect to. Of course, you could always get the necessary paint and window overlays

    • You mean like Monster.com or other job sites? ;)
    • Stealth wallpaper keeps company secrets safe [newscientist.com]

      Getting purchasing to buy it is a different story on the other hand.

    • As a corporate security guy working in Toronto, I'm not happy to read that Comrade Miller is going to make life that much more difficult for me. Thanks to this initiative, there will be a wireless network running (our building is right downtown) that users can switch to whenever they feel like accessing something that our content filters reject!

      Quite right! Employees might also occasionally talk to their families and friends on company phones. They may be engaging in such scurrilous activities as looking
  • by 70Bang ( 805280 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @05:08PM (#14861633)


    Dvorak mentioned something in one of his columns sometime last year. Philadelphia was going to create a huge hotspot until the big boys got wind of what was going on. How did they deal with it? PAC -> State Legislature -> PAC -> Governor.

    Bing Bang Boom.

    Any towns or cities wishing to create a hotspot has to make it known publicly and give the commercial entities some time to decide what they want to do; i.e. right of first refusal, with a fourteen month window.

    This is OTTOMH, but it's very close to what was reported.

    I'm waiting to see how long it takes before VOIP are put into a similar position to where they cannot economically compete and will have to sell out to standard telcos. Or, standard telcos are provided some extra benefits in order to compete. I would view the 911 issue was one of the first arrows out of the quiver. Certain exceptions aside, nearly all monopolies were the result of gov't intervention "in the olden days" - ensuring they had enough of a market to remain competitive. These people are like Microsoft: they don't want to play second fiddle to anyone under any condition.

    We're going to have to deal with something similar here in Indiana. Legislation has passed permitting telcos to compete head-to-head with cable systems. The issue was never raised, as most stats are not. 95% of the households in the US with access to cable have no choice regarding which cable provider. The cable lobbies said the telcos would only go after affluent markets (well, duh!) for better features and for some reason, that's not fair. The telcos said in competitive markets, cable prices easily dropped 25%. "Why would you want to pay 25% more for what you're already getting?" Boffins will observe a 25% discount is not the same thing as a 25% increase over the 25% discount. The telcos also promised "everyone who chooses the telco option plus those who subscribe to cable when that's the only [ground] option will have lower prices". That's a heck of a guarantee. I'd love to challenge them on a panel and ask them, "If that's not the case within five years, are you willing to pull out? If not, then why did you make that promise?"


  • Go Canada (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jshackles ( 957031 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @05:08PM (#14861634)
    This is just one more reason I need to move to Canada. As if I needed a reason.
  • Excellent. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by respyre ( 812609 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @05:09PM (#14861646)
    This is a great idea.

    1. Move to Toronto
    2. Fire up packet sniffer of choice
    3. Sniff a few million packets full of sensitive personal and financial data
    4. ???
    5. Profit!
  • How many cities? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by slagheap ( 734182 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @05:10PM (#14861651)

    These types of stories pop up on Slashdot once in a while... "City X to implement citywide wireless". I was just wondering what other cities have announced such plans. Which ones actually have working systems today?

    Slagheap
    • Fredericton, NB (Score:5, Informative)

      by brunes69 ( 86786 ) <[gro.daetsriek] [ta] [todhsals]> on Monday March 06, 2006 @05:47PM (#14861985) Homepage
      Fredericton [fred-ezone.com] has had nearly city-wide WiFi [fred-ezone.com] for going on 3 years now.

      AFAIK we were the first city in NA to impliment it.

      NO registration required (though you must agree to the EULA at sign on), and the city actually makes money from the ancillary services the municipal network provides to companies. A win-win in my book.

    • Yellowknife? (Score:2, Informative)

      by addbo ( 165128 )
      Yellowknife is considered a city because it's a capital ... though we only have like ~20,000 people... a company called SSI Micro has basically blanketed the city with WiFi...

      http://www.ssimicro.com/ [ssimicro.com]

      Yay we're on the bleeding edge North of 60!
    • Corpus Christi, TX, is rolling out one:

      http://www.cctexas.com/wifi/ [cctexas.com]

      I'm not sure how complete the coverage is, as I haven't found a map. My father reports seeing the access points at various places around the city, but he doesn't have a WiFi card to access it (yet).

  • Signal strength (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Arandir ( 19206 )
    But will the hotspot be strong enough to reach Detroit?
    • Re:Signal strength (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gstoddart ( 321705 )

      But will the hotspot be strong enough to reach Detroit?

      You must be joking, right?

      Maybe if the City of Windsor had decided to do this, your question would make sense, since they're across the river from each other.

      Toronto is at least 3 hours drive away from Detroit -- and this is at 100kph/65mph -- you know, the entire length of Lake Eerie. Your laptop could never hope to broadcast back anything over those distances; the FCC would see to that.

    • But will the hotspot be strong enough to reach Detroit?

      Detroit to Toronto is 393 Km, so I seriously doubt it. Perhaps you were thinking of Windsor?

  • Oh, Toronto is a hot spot. The PanChinese lands an asteriod on the city in Scardown [amazon.com] by Elizabeth Bear.
  • Whoa, when I read that headline, I thought someone had discovered an earth-impacting asteroid... Now I find it's just some boring old WiFi setup which will become congested in short order.

    At least an asteroid would melt the winter snows. Wait, perhaps all that RF energy will do the same.
  • Hotspot? (Score:3, Funny)

    by xRelisH ( 647464 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @07:33PM (#14862797)
    If it's in Canada, wouldn't it be called... err... a ColdSpot?
  • ...at least that is my prediction.

    Two converging factors are going to be a big positive net for rural communities. At the same time Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and Singular are all rolling out high speed connectivity through EVDO (or similar) offerings, big cities are breaking into the hotspot world, and other carriers are planning rollouts via powerlines and other schemes -- some really unusual ones like airships floating around and so on.

    While its true that none of these are starting in rural communities and working IN toward the cities, a side effect of the increased competition in cities is that is is (or I think it is) putting more and more pressure on the cell carriers to roll their services out to the countryside much sooner and at much lower cost than previously planned.

    They (the cell carriers) are quickly going to find that their "market differentiator" is going to once again be the ubuiquity of their service compared to the city wifi clouds. If your market strength is ubiquity, you'll spend more money making sure you cover more remote places. Hence, soon we'll have at least dsl comperable speeds available on EVDO cards in much more rural locations.

    Sure, I know Verizon Wireless has "plans" to cover their whole digital area with EVDO. Let me tell you that it is a SLOW plan from the perspective of those of us who live in the sticks.

    FWIW, I have an EVDO card in my laptop for when I travel, and find it HUGELY useful at airports, park benches, and even hotel rooms in most major cities now. Its about comperable to DSL -- maybe a little higher latency. Upload speed is much reduced compared to download speed of course. They don't want people uploading content or streaming media -- they want you buying videos.

    Still, its often more reliable and faster than a hotel network. Just not at home. At home, its about dialup speed until they get EVDO turned on out here.

try again

Working...