Still no Wi-Fi service on Southworth run

Despite an earlier prediction that wireless Internet service would be available on the Southworth-Vashon-Fauntleroy route of the Washington State Ferries by the last day of 2007, equipment delays have pushed the estimate into this year.

“We are waiting on equipment for the Klahowya and Issaquah,” said Bob Davis, a vice president with Parsons, the company hired by WSF in 2006 to put Wi-Fi on most of its routes.

Davis said the necessary equipment is installed and ready on the M/V Chelan, as well as on all of the terminals along the Triangle route.

As for when the other two vessels might be outfitted, Parsons said he is no longer giving firm dates.

“We are now giving the timeframe as by the end of the first quarter, but I imagine it will be up before March,” he said.

Davis said his company has 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.

After several delays, Wi-Fi service on the Bremerton ferries began the day before Christmas.

“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.”

However, Parson said the effort would “absolutely” be 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.

When the service is live on the route, Parsons said the fees will be $29.95 a month, $6.95 per day, or $2.95 for the first 15 minutes.

For more information, visit, or call 1-800-WSF-WIFI (1-800-973-9434).

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