City’s free Wi-Fi program not here yet

May 2, 2014
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The City unveiled last month a free wireless Internet service program that has more than 150 access points throughout Boston and plans to bring the program to 20 Main Street districts, according to a press release.

But it is unclear when the program, which is called “Wicked Free Wi-Fi: Boston’s Public Wireless Network,” will come to Mission Hill.

Mission Hill Main Streets Executive Director Richard Rouse said in an email to the Gazette he has not been told when the district will receive the Wi-Fi program. The Mayor’s Office and the Department of Neighborhood Development, which operates the City’s Main Street program, did not respond to requests for comment.

Bringing public Wi-Fi to the city was originally the brainchild of then-City Councilor John Tobin around 2006, but former Mayor Thomas Menino commandeered the idea, as the Gazette previously reported. Tobin is now Northeastern University’s vice president for community and governmental outreach.

“Maybe they emailed me the invite and I just didn’t get it. I wasn’t in a Wi-Fi zone,” Tobin joked at the time when he wasn’t invited to Menino’s announcement on the proposal for public Wi-Fi.

Menino’s proposal stalled after being studied by a task force. Walsh has instituted the service within his first months in office.

In 2005, Wentworth Institute of Technology students created a small-scale free Wi-Fi system to serve the Alice Taylor Homes public housing development. It is unclear what the status of that program is.

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