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BC Ferries removes Wi-Fi service from sailings

21 terminals will instead receive free Wi-Fi service
An aerial shot of BC Ferries’ Swartz Bay terminal. (Black Press Media file photo)

The expansion of Wi-Fi in BC Ferries terminals has come with its removal from all sailings because of continued reliability and quality complaints from customers and an inability to upgrade its current delivery method from land to sea, according to the corporation.

The three routes that hosted wifi service – Tswaassen-Swartz Bay, Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay, and Horseshoe Bay-Langdale – were shut down July 5. “Extensive research and analysis of various technology solutions have shown it is not possible to improve the Wi-Fi service on our ferries to the level expected by users,” BC Ferries said on its website.

READ ALSO: BC Ferries reporting 5-sailing wait at Horseshoe Bay

BC Ferries installed land-based radio devices with relatively limited connection to their sea-bound ferries in 2010. Since then, the number of customers in need of an internet connection – and complaints relating to its reliability – has increased annually, BC Ferries said.

Stricter radio-frequency regulations, it said, necessitate expensive upgrades to the ship-to-shore network system that would ultimately be passed to customers. A cellular connection is also out of the question because “our high northern latitudes are limited and would still not provide an adequate service for the number of users.”

READ ALSO: BC Ferries crew rescues person overboard on sailing from Vancouver Island

Despite the loss on ferries, the company will be adding new Wi-Fi connections at 14 terminals following a $1.5-million grant from the Ministry of Citizens’ Services, increasing the total number of terminals with the service to 21.

BC Ferries also reminded ferry-goers that the service will never ask for credit card or personal information to use its Wi-Fi networks. “Any unlocked Wi-Fi network that purports to be ‘bcferries’ and asks for (credit card or personal information) should be considered malicious,” the company noted.

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