Last year, Shaw Communications made an unexpected move by dropping its plans for a wireless telephone network and instead announcing that it would build a cheaper Wi-Fi service. The move caught most industry analysts by surprise and they claimed that ditching wireless plans would hurt the company badly.
To make matters worse, the company subsequently reported a lower Q4 profit, reflecting a wider loss from discontinued wireless operations, despite a 26 percent growth in revenues. Analysts cautioned that Shaw needs to get its Wi-Fi act right in order to bring things back on track.
Nearly ten month since, Shaw’s Wi-Fi strategy has fetched mixed results. The company in collaboration with the City of Winnipeg announced today yesterday the Shaw Wi-Fi network is expanding to include even more popular Winnipeg locations like libraries, arenas, recreation facilities and community centres.
The catch though – this complimentary service is only available to Shaw Internet customers.
The expansion needs to be approved by the Winnipeg City Council before it’s rolled out. Shaw first announced a partnership deal with the City of Winnipeg in May to provide the city with 35-site Virtual Private Local Area Network Service (VPLS) in a multi-year agreement. As part of the current agreement, Shaw will cover the city’s electrical bills relating to the service.
“It’s vital the City of Winnipeg provide its residents with the very latest in communications tools,” said Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz. “I know that busy families are going to appreciate Wi-Fi access in arenas and community centres. We look forward to working with Shaw Communications to keep enhancing the out-of-home Internet experience.”
Katz clarified that this is a non-exclusive deal with Shaw and he invited other Wi-Fi providers such as MTS, Rogers to launch offer similar services.
“We are thrilled to work with the City of Winnipeg to extend the broadband Internet experience for Shaw customers living in and travelling to Winnipeg,” said Peter Bissonnette, President, Shaw Communications Inc. “Combined with our leadership in the TV Everywhere category and the popularity of Wi-Fi enabled devices, this new agreement will provide our customers in Winnipeg with an unparalleled online experience, no matter where they might be in the city.”