Whether travelling for overdue visits with family, long-awaited summer vacations or essential travel, waiting for the ferry is about to get more convenient for people as Wi-Fi service will soon be offered at 14 more BC Ferries terminals.
“We’ve been hearing from people about how convenient it is to have free and reliable Wi-Fi access at BC Ferries terminals, particularly on minor routes where cellular service is less likely to be available,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Citizens’ Services. “The Connecting British Columbia program and BC Ferries have come up with a plan to bring Wi-Fi access to terminals like Vesuvius Bay, Bella Bella and Lyall Harbour. These upgrades will make it easier for people to keep in touch with family back home and plan their travels while they wait for the ferry.”
BC Ferries is receiving up to $1.5 million through the ministry’s Connecting British Columbia program. The grant will help cover the cost of bringing Wi-Fi coverage to minor route terminals, including public lounges, vehicle line-up areas and where possible, parking lots.
“BC Ferries thanks the Province for their support to expand the availability of free Wi-Fi to more locations,” said Mark Collins, president and CEO, BC Ferries. “This project will see us invest in ongoing terminal Wi-Fi operating costs. This partnership helps meet the provincial government’s goal to keep British Columbians connected by introducing Wi-Fi at more of our properties.”
Wi-Fi will be made available at terminals serving people on east Denman Island, Buckley Bay, Heriot Bay, Whaletown
, Descanso Bay, Alert Bay, Vesuvius Bay, Sturdies Bay, Bella Bella, Port Hardy, Long Harbour, Otter Bay, Lyall Harbour and Nanaimo Harbour.
“The addition of free Wi-Fi for BC Ferries' customers at some of the smaller, more remote terminals is important for those who might not otherwise have cell service,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “It gives travellers an opportunity to connect before their voyage and brings this Wi-Fi service in line with what people receive at many of the larger terminals along the coast.”
“Providing enhanced access to the internet at the terminals will be a major benefit to ferry passengers, particularly during peak season sailings,” said Harold Swierenga, chair, Salt Spring Island Ferry Advisory Committee. “Access to the BC Ferries' website and internet while at the terminal can be of particular assistance to visitors unfamiliar with the routes and schedules.”
Northern Development Initiative Trust has been the fund administrator for Connecting British Columbia since its start in 2015. Northern Development is a regionally operated economic development funding corporation for central and northern British Columbia and operates independently from government.
“For many in British Columbia, ferry travel is part of their daily lives. Having free, reliable Wi-Fi service along minor service routes is an asset not only to regular travellers for keeping in touch, but also for tourists who might be new to the area,” said Joel McKay, CEO, Northern Development Initiative Trust. “Northern Development applauds the Province for recognizing the importance of convenient Wi-Fi while travelling.”
This announcement is part of B.C.’s $10-billion COVID-19 response, which includes StrongerBC: BC's Economic Recovery Plan that protects people’s health and livelihoods while supporting businesses and communities.
Work to install and activate Wi-Fi service at the 14 terminals is expected to be completed by Oct. 31, 2021.
BC Ferries currently provides free Wi-Fi services to people at seven terminals: Swartz Bay, Tsawwassen, Departure Bay, Horseshoe Bay, Duke Point, Langdale and Saltery Bay. This was first introduced between 2010 and 2012.
BC Ferries has a total of 47 terminals around the province. This project will bring the total number of terminals with Wi-Fi access to 21.
The total estimated cost of the BC Ferries' terminal Wi-Fi project is $1.67 million.
Connectivity in B.C.: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/connectivity-in-bc
StrongerBC: BC's Economic Recovery Plan: https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca/
Northern Development Initiative Trust: https://www.northerndevelopment.bc.ca/funding-programs/partner-programs/connecting-british-columbia/