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Yodel-ing from the rooftops



Plans progressing to offer wireless Internet in Whistler Village

Companies and communities pushing the wireless revolution have latched on to a single image that defines the true freedom offered by this technology – the park bench.

Of course, a majority of the future wireless Internet users in Whistler will do most of their online work from hotel and conferences rooms, but soon there will be nothing stopping people from taking their laptops, Personal Data Assistants, and tablet PCs outside to park benches, patios, and balconies.

Yodel, the name given to Whistler’s wireless Internet system, is the result of a public-private partnership between the RMOW and V-Link, an Internet company that handles wireless Internet networks for Hilton and Ambassador Suites.

Together, they are building a wireless Internet network that will blanket every square inch of Whistler Village. Once the first phase is complete, other networks will be installed in the Upper Village and Creekside. Once the project is complete, Whistler will be the first town in the world with a "campus wide" wireless network.

"It’s definitely a competitive advantage for the resort," explains John Rae, who has been working with the RMOW on this project as the manager of strategic alliances and marketing services. "Out of the gate, it gives us a distinct competitive advantage over other resorts.

"We went to Tourism Whistler with the idea, and asked ‘will you be able to use this message to increase conference business?’ and their response was ‘would we ever’. (Wireless Internet capability) is definitely a factor that would allow us to attract large conferences."

The wireless network can benefit tourists or locals that have wireless devices, as well as the hotels, rental properties, and other businesses in Whistler Village that can offer wireless capability to their customers.

Not only will it enhance Whistler’s reputation, it will also bring in revenue.

The system would be run as a joint partnership between the RMOW and V-Link, with both parties sharing the profits 50-50 once the infrastructure is paid for.

The concept was brought to the RMOW by V-Link last summer. V-Link agreed to cover all of the capital costs of installing the wireless network, estimated at $145,000, and in return will be able to use Whistler as a brand name to promote their services in other communities.

"The way we’ve structured this public-private partnership really fits in nicely with our long-term goals," said Bill Barratt, the general manager of community services for the RMOW.

"The company (V-Link) provides all of the software, all of the capital costs, and we’re not on the hook for anything. For V-Link, the real power comes from their association with Whistler.