Free WiFi service is now available in many B.C. courthouses.
The Court Services Branch of the B.C. Ministry of Justice has partnered with Shaw Communications Inc. to provide the service in communities with fibre connectivity at no cost to government or users.
Previously, WiFi in courthouses required users to pay and it was not widely used.
Free WiFi was installed a year ago in the Victoria Law Courts and has been well-used. It was then expanded to Prince George, Kamloops and New Westminster Law Courts last fall and is expected to be expanded further, to Chilliwack Law Courts, Port Coquitlam Provincial Courthouse, Nanaimo Law Courts and Kelowna Law Courts imminently.
It’s anticipated Surrey and Vancouver courts will get the service this spring.
To access the WiFi network, users must set up an account. Shaw customers can use their existing home account information, while others will get a free guest account. There will be signs and information cards with instructions in each courthouse.
While the policy is different for the B.C. Court of Appeal, inside Provincial and Supreme Court courtrooms, you may not use an electronic device to receive or transmit data, unless you are a lawyer or an accredited journalist. Only accredited media may use an electronic device to record in a courtroom, and then only for note-taking purposes, not for publication or broadcast.
Taking photos inside a courthouse remains prohibited.