SaskConnected! SaskUnConnected! – UPDATED

I’d heard many people the last month complain they couldn’t connect to SaskConnected! public WiFi when they tried. Turns out, the service was turned off!

Please join me in contacting your MLA and the following organizations. The livability of Regina went down a measurable notch in July, apparently without much fanfare or outcry. I’d attribute that to those using SaskConnected as being:
1) unaware the service was down for good.
2) less inclined to feel powerful enough to change systematic decisions made against them.

Dear Mr. Hutchinson, SaskTel, Regina Transit, Regina BID:

I’m very sad to learn Saskatchewan & Regina have rejoined the Internet Copper Age by turning off SaskConnected! public WiFi in cities. I came to depend upon the service when away from home, as weak as it may have been, to look up Transit schedules, send and receive emails, and post social media updates. I feel bad for people traveling through our city who now have no easy service option at all.

The various retailers with WiFi around the city cannot be relied upon to not change their passwords, and offer 24 hour service. The Regina Downtown is a lot less livable now, and I can’t get WiFi while I wait for buses at most of my stops anymore.

I hope a solution to this problem can be implemented soon. I’ve noticed a “SaskTel Public WiFi” SSID in some locations at some times has been working. If it’s implemented as a 24 hour, wide coverage replacement, I’ll have no complaints.

Thank you all for your attention to this problem.

SaskTel, the Sask Government, and whoever else was running SaskConnected allowed the service to stay unreliable and weak, and still people were using it. To shut it off cuts that flow of information off from points were it was desired. To meet the public’s need, service should be restored, and improved.

UPDATE: Sasktel’s response, for which I will have a follow-up later:

Hi John

Thank you for your email.

SaskTel is introducing a new leading-edge Wi-Fi network for SaskTel customers in high traffic locations in the province. This new network will give more reliable service compared to what is currently offered by the out-dated technology used by Saskatchewan! Connected.

Use of the Saskatchewan! Connected network throughout the province is extremely low. We believe this is due to the out of date technology giving slow and unreliable service. The system is antiquated and must be replaced, which is not uncommon in an industry driven by ever-evolving and improving technology such as telecommunications. SaskTel is now introducing a new Wi-Fi service in Victoria Park and Mosiac Stadium for SaskTel customers. In order to do that, we had to shut down the Saskatchewan! Connected network in the Regina Downtown area on July 9, 2013, as was announced on June 6, 2013, as the old system would interfere with the new technology.

Someone anonymous at SaskTel wrote back to the questions I posed below, indirectly answering some.

Thank-you for your quick response. I do have a few concerns still. Will this new service include 13th Ave, Kramer Blvd., and the Warehouse districts as SaskConnected covered? The UofR has a uofr guest SSID option, so that’s not a service consideration.

Will the new Public WiFi be restricted to “SaskTel customers”, and thus not be egalitarian or actually free?

When is the timeframe for implementing the new service, and where can the public view the technical specifications and planned coverage areas?

==

SCFeedback:
Aug 19
Hi again John,

We have been monitoring the use of the Saskatchewan! Connected network and found it was very low. We believe it was due to the equipment being unreliable due to dated technology. We have the new Wi-Fi service being developed for SaskTel customers and hope to have it up and running in key spots later this fall. The plans for the new service is still under development, and once we have more details, we will make a public announcement.

Thanks

SaskTel’s release.

UPDATE: SaskConnected was announced as shut off today, Oct. 15, but I used it at 1pm on Kramer Blvd.

ADDED: Saskatoon blogger and columnist Cooper has thoughts on this.

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About John Klein

My full time blog is at AbandonedStuff.com My personal site devoted to my Regina politics work is at JohnKlein.ca