CBC is reporting that the city of Vancouver is seeking bids for the creation of a downtown-wide (2.3sq km, more or less) Wi-Fi network. Essentially, the city wants it to happen with zero cost to the taxpayer, which is understandable. Taxes in Vancouver are bad enough (especially with the increase in Translink-associated fundage). In theory (my theory) the network will either be ad-based (which, if I remember correctly, Google tried to implement in San Francisco), or pay-per-use (which could be reasonably priced, or not). While the cost for WiFi from hotspots (e.g. Starbucks) is fairly restrictive, I see no reason why people couldn't pay either monthly (if you live downtown, and want strictly WiFi), daily (perhaps in town for a business meeting, or vacation) or hourly based on need (with prices becoming more reasonable over longer time periods).
I think this is a great idea, and needs to be rolled out in other municipalities throughout the province (country, world). I mean, if Blue River can have community WiFi, why not Burnaby?