The company providing wireless Internet access on several Washington State Ferries routes announced last week that service on the local Triangle route is now active.
“We’re providing a strong and persistent Wi-Fi signal to the terminals and auto holding areas as well as to the ferries servicing the Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth run,” said Bob Davis, a vice president with Parsons, the company hired by WSF in 2006 to put Wi-Fi on most of its routes.
Although the company previously estimated that the service would be active by the end of last year, in December Davis said the necessary equipment had only been installed on one of the three boats on the route.
“This is an arduous task,” Davis said, explaining that outfitting the terminals, holding areas and vessels has been a lengthy and costly process. Crews had to do most of their work at night when the terminals and vessels were not in use, and ensure that everything complied with U.S. Coast Guard regulations. “This is a very expensive proposition, and not as easy as doing a land-based service.”
Davis said getting the service up and running “ultimately required setting up five shoreline transmitters in addition to those at the three terminals.”
However, he said the effort was “absolutely” worthwhile, and that once the entire WSF system is “lit-up,” it will be the largest commercial, over-the-water Wi-Fi system in the world.
Other WSF Wi-Fi routes include Edmonds/Kingston, Mukilteo/Clinton, the newly improved Seattle/Bainbridge route, plus the new Seattle/Bremerton route.
After several delays, Wi-Fi service on the Bremerton ferries began the day before Christmas.
Davis said his company had received calls from people asking when the wireless service might be available on the Southworth route, but the number is “negligible” compared to the amount of inquiries about when it would go live on the Bremerton route.
Parsons said the fees for the service will be $29.95 a month, $6.95 per day, or $2.95 for the first 15 minutes.
For more information, visit https://wireless.nnu.com/nw4/sites/wsf/aboutus, or call (800) WSF-WIFI (973-9434).