SASKATOON, Saskatchewan, July 26, 2007 - Cisco® Canada today announced the Government of Saskatchewan is deploying a Cisco Outdoor Wireless Network Solution to provide free Internet access to businesses, residents and visitors across the Province's largest four cities. The Saskatchewan! Connected initiative is Canada's largest outdoor wireless network and the first of its kind to be supported on a provincial or state level in North America.
Beginning today, Saskatchewan! Connected can be accessed by a Cisco Outdoor Wireless Network Solution throughout Saskatoon's downtown and Broadway Avenue business districts. Provincial telecommunications company and Cisco Silver Certified Partner SaskTel is spearheading the design and deployment of the outdoor wireless solution, which includes Cisco Aironet® 1500 Series Outdoor Mesh Access Points at more than 450 locations in Saskatoon, Regina, Prince Albert and Moose Jaw. The wireless networks are now available for public access in all four centres.
"This service, enabled by Cisco, will help our businesses attract and retain customers, while also benefiting business people, youth and others," said Minister Responsible for Information Technology, Government of Saskatchewan, Frank Quennell. "Saskatchewan! Connected is the largest free wireless network in Canada, demonstrating once again that Saskatchewan is a leader in innovation and technology advancement."
Saskatchewan! Connected is an initiative developed by the Government of Saskatchewan Information Technology Office (ITO) in direct response to ideas presented by Saskatchewan youth at the 2007 Youth Summit in Saskatoon. The free-of-charge wireless network will help the Province invigorate its cities and make them among the best possible places in which people can live a "connected life" while they work, live, play and learn.
"We heard loud and clear from provincial youth that connectivity and increased accessibility to technology are crucial elements in their lives," said ITO Deputy Minister Don Wincherauk.
"Cisco is excited to work together with the ITO to play such a pivotal role in the delivery of public access to the Internet, which is vital in our business and personal lives," said David De Abreu, vice president, Cisco Canada. "To date, the trend has been to offer outdoor wireless service on a municipal level only. The Saskatchewan! Connected initiative marks another key milestone in the adoption of outdoor wireless solutions by provincial and state governments, joining Silicon Valley in the U.S., the Province of Brescia in Italy and the island nation of Singapore."
To deliver the network, Cisco engaged its partner and Saskatchewan's leading full-service communications provider, SaskTel. SaskTel designed and deployed the solution so that it can be easily replicated and managed across the Province's key cities.
"One of the reasons that Saskatchewan was able to move so fast with this deployment, from the time it was first suggested in February at the Youth Summit, is because it collaborated closely with SaskTel," says Lawrence Surtees, vice president and principal analyst, Communications Research at IDC Canada Ltd. "The Saskatchewan! Connected initiative is a great example of a provincial government working successfully with a service provider in support of the province's best policy interests. Free wireless connectivity in those select downtown core areas will help to give Saskatchewan a needed economic boost."
"We're proud to partner with Cisco to deliver this exciting and innovative service to the Government of Saskatchewan and communities throughout the Province," said Robert Watson, SaskTel president and CEO. "Saskatchewan! Connected will bring people and communities together in a whole new way."
Cisco Outdoor Wireless Network Solution
Purpose built for large-scale deployments, the Cisco Aironet 1500 Series is the anchor to the Saskatchewan! Connected mesh network. It offers several unique features that make it an ideal choice for the Province. Its robust design allows it to be deployed virtually anywhere - rooftops, light posts, power poles - and under the most severe weather conditions. With a zero-configuration deployment capability, the 1500 Series contains additional built-in intelligence so it can automatically set-up and configure itself to operate within a mesh network and "self-heal" if it should lose power or incur some other interruption, thus reducing maintenance and management costs.
More information about Cisco wireless mesh networks can be found at www.cisco.com/go/wirelessmesh.