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West Coast General Hospital introduces free Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi will be funded by Hospital Foundation
West Coast General Hospital, in Port Alberni, BC. NEWS FILE PHOTO

Patients and visitors at the West Coast General Hospital (WCGH) can now stay connected via free Wi-Fi, thanks to the West Coast General Hospital Foundation.

In April of this year, Lake Cowichan resident Sarah Gibson started a petition asking Island Health to introduce free public Wi-Fi for patients. Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a release on Sept. 6 that these efforts have led Island Health to develop a creative solution to provide free Wi-Fi at five Island Health hospitals this month.

Mobile-users at WCGH will be able to access the new service by searching for and connecting to the wireless network “IslandHealthGuest.” Free public Wi-Fi will support basic internet browsing, but not the large bandwiths associated with high-definition video streaming.

The West Coast General Hospital Foundation has committed to pay the operating cost for public Wi-Fi, estimated to be around $2,000 annually. Island Health will provide the service within the hospital’s existing Wi-Fi system, without adding any new wireless signals or access points.

“We’re very grateful to the Foundation for supporting this program because many of our patients travel to be here,” said Kelly McColm, interim site manager at WCGH. “This service will help them more easily stay connected to their support network.”