Saturday, January 2, 2010

Frustration Mounts at Carnegie over Blocking of WiFi Access to Poor

John B. is one of many Carnegie members expressing frustration at the decision by City management at Carnegie to block the poor from accessing WiFi at Carnegie. As reported earlier on this blog, people like John can no longer sit on the third floor at Carnegie and access WiFi with their laptops or netbooks.

The only WiFi access remaining at Carnegie Centre is in the tiny Vancouver Public Library reading room on the first floor. But John points out that the library WiFi is "not designed to carry the load". He says that after 4 or 5 people are signed on, he can't even get on.

Another man who regularly volunteers in the Carnegie computer (desktop) room for 80 cents an hour in food vouchers, says he is frustrated at the blocking of WiFi access at Carnegie for people with laptops. He now has to go to Waves coffee shop with his laptop. He sits in the back and avoids purchasing a coffee.

John hopes to start a petition to take to City Hall to have Carnegie staff share the WiFi signal with the poor.

But John has decided that his first step will be to talk to Carnegie Director Ethel Whitty. He did not know Whitty's name until today when another Carnegie member gave it to him. The member reportedly warned him that he would get nowhere with Ethel Whitty.

A third man, a longtime Carnegie member sitting in Waves using a laptop, was pessimistic about getting Carnegie staff to share WiFi access with the poor. "They don't care. From Whitty on down, they don't care."