Toronto is getting ready to cut the cord.
The city’s financial district is going wireless as of September 7 th, a little later than first planned due to several delays ranging from security concerns to public health worries.
Spokespersons from Toronto Hydro Telecom, the city-owned electrical utility spearheading the plan, suggest the existing wireless hot spots in cafes and homes won’t interfere with the new WiFi (Wireless Fidelity) zone.
The project is among the largest of its kind in North America, allowing people to access the World Wide Web throughout the downtown instead of at the aforementioned hot spots. Customers would be able to make phone calls over the Internet and, down the road, watch video.
The company plans to offer its service for free for the first six months – the cost after that hasn’t been discussed yet. The grace period raised fears among law enforcement officials that criminals would take advantage of the service for nefarious purposes. Now users will have to provide authentification using their cellphones. Those without phones won’t be able to access the free service.
There were also health concerns relating to exposure to electromagnetic fields – Toronto Public Health is reportedly now confident that the network won’t pose a safety risk.
Eventually, the company hopes to cover the whole city with its WiFi network.