St. Lawrence Market and Dufferin Grove Park are offline

Wifi at St. Lawrence Market has been offline for a while now: our wireless backhaul has become too unreliable, and we need to address the issue of interference on the main floor. (When the network was installed six years ago, ours was the only wifi signal in the space — now we’re competing with *dozens* of private networks.) The folks at the Market are working on a new backhaul solution, which we’re hoping will be in place in a few weeks.

The wifi at Dufferin Grove Park went offline at midnight last night, because Rogers has discontinued their Portable Internet service, which was the backhaul for the service at the park. It’s a disappointing move by Rogers — the Portable Internet service filled an important gap between wired/DSL and cellular-network-based service. It wasn’t cheap or fast, but it was unmetered, which perhaps contributed to Rogers’ decision to discontinue it. It’s particularly disappointing for users in many rural areas, where it was the only viable high-speed option. In Toronto we have more options: we’ll be switching to an cellular/AWS service, but it’ll be a few weeks ’til it’s back online.

New hotspot: St Louis Bar & Grill on Yonge Street

The St. Louis Bar & Grill chain has expanded a lot over the past few years, and Wireless Toronto has set up free wifi at the ones at Atrium on Bay and at Fairview Mall. This week they opened at 528 Yonge Street (at Breadalbane, one block south of Wellesley), and that location’s now also a Wireless Toronto hotspot. Link:

New hotspot: Wychwood Open Door

Wychwood Open Door is a day-time drop-in centre that has served homeless and socially isolated people in Toronto’s midtown St. Clair West community since 1986. We’re really happy to be working with them to make wifi available in their space, including to two donated desktop computers which are now available for use. More info:

Sommet de l’Alliance

Our well-organized sibling groups in Quebec are having their annual community wifi summit in Drummondville next weekend. At the same time will be AuthPuppyCamp — the first(?) open meetup to discuss AuthPuppy, the platform which replaces WifiDog. I can’t make it, but I’m sure they’d be happy if someone from Toronto was there. It’ll be in French, unsurprisingly. A little early press coverage:été/Technologies/2011-02-07/article-2204633/Le-CentreduQuebec-accueillera-le-Sommet-de-lAlliance-des-communautes-sans-fil/1

WT at Social Tech un/conference

Gabe will be presenting Wireless Toronto in the pre-unconference part of the Social Tech Un/conference that Free Geek Toronto is organizing this Saturday at OISE: There are some great speakers in the morning, and the afternoon unconference should be good too. Come say hi! It’s free to attend; register here:

Starbucks Launches Free + Libre Wifi

I had seen the ecstatic proclamation of free wifi at Starbucks in the US a few weeks ago, but missed the announcement that the deal was coming to Canada on July 1st too.

To be clear, “free wifi” of a sort had been available at Starbucks previously: you had to have a account, and by logging in you could get 2 free hours/day. The new free wifi service is two-click: agree to the terms and click connect. (“Free wifi” versus “free free wifi”? “Free+libre wifi”?)

When you do so, it takes you to what is currently an almost blank version of the Sympatico portal:

I don’t know what the equivalent page looks like in the US, but I’m guessing that it’s more elaborate:
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