Toronto is Canada's newest hotspot

Financial district's wireless zone biggest in country

Tourists, local businesses and business travellers will be able to take advantage of the country's largest wireless internet zone now that Toronto Hydro has launched its free service in Toronto's financial district.

However, the service is only free until March 6, at which time users can subscribe for $29 a month or pay $10 for a 24-hour period or $5 per hour.

The "One Zone" goes from Front St. north to Queen St., and Spadina Ave. east to Church St.

Toronto Hydro plans to expand coverage by mid-October north to College St. and then encompass the six square kilometres of the city's downtown core by the end of the year.

Over the next three years, the utility company plans to stretch the network from the waterfront north to Steeles Ave., covering more than 700 square kilometres.

Toronto Hydro originally created the network to wirelessly extract information from residential smart meters once they're deployed across the city.

However, with the subscription service, the zone should pay for itself within one year, said David Dobbin, president of Toronto Hydro Telecom.

Small businesses, Bay street professionals and city agencies, such as the Toronto Transit Commission, will most likely be the bread and butter of the operation, said Dobbin.

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