Bell Offers Free WiFi In Montreal

by Gaurav Kheterpal on October 20, 2011

Being a frequent business traveler, I’m always on the lookout for free WiFi hotspots. Though the wireless carrier fraternity relentlessly claims to offer the ‘fastest’ and the ‘best’ 3G and 4G network speeds, I can safely bet that nothing matches the WiFi browsing experience.

If you live in Montreal or you travel to the region frequently for work or leisure, there’s good news for you – Bell yesterday announced that it has introduced free high-speed Wi-Fi service on Saint-Laurent Boulevard between Sherbrooke Street and Mont-Royal Avenue.

Considered as one of the liveliest corridors in the city, the 1.6 km stretch of Saint Laurent Blvd. has some 300 street-level stores, restaurants and coffee shops. So, now you can enjoy free WiFi over a delicious lunch or while sipping the most delicious treats the region has to offer.

The free WiFi service has been launched in collaboration with the Societe de developpement du boulevard Saint-Laurent and will be built upon a mesh network that uses 13 access points running on Cisco hardware. As part of the agreement, the association will bear the cost of network’s hardware while Bell Mobility will supply free bandwidth. Users can avail free Wi-Fi in the area for 30 minutes per day, while Bell Mobility customers get unlimited access. That essentially means – if you are a Rogers or Telus customer, you get capped on the WiFi while Bell customers earn a free ride every day.

“Bell is very pleased to expand our Wi-Fi network — already the country’s biggest — to one of the most popular commercial districts in Canada,” said Almis Ledas, Vice-President of Corporate Development for Bell Mobility. “This partnership between Bell and the Société de développement du boulevard Saint-Laurent makes the best network across Canada even better.”

The Merchant Association has welcomed this move as it would serve as an added bonus for area visitors. The long-term goal is to have free Wi-Fi all around Montreal and I hope this would prove to be a good starting point. The association is actively working with telco companies on new WiFi deployments in the downtown area that would be entirely free.

As FP points out, this is a good strategic move for a couple of reasons. First, it shows that Bell is focused on grabbing a lion’s share of the pie in Montreal, one of its major historical markets. Secondly, it passively promotes mobile web – a channel that’s fast emerging as an alternate revenue source for most carriers to offset declines in voice services. Whatever the intentions may have been, as far as end users are concerned – there’s nothing better than free WiFi.

Bell is already Canada’s largest Wi-Fi network service provider and the carrier is expected to further expand its WiFi footprint next year.

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.comby: RSS,TwitterFacebook, or YouTube.

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