Kudos to Mayor Walsh and the City of Boston for launching free wireless Internet service. We look forward to seeing “Wicked Free Wi-Fi” in Mission Hill as soon as possible.
Decent Internet service in the U.S. remains absurdly expensive in comparison to other countries, and particularly so in Boston, with little competition and poor infrastructure. This feeds the “digital divide,” where lower-income residents may be cut off from fully accessing Internet services crucial for job-hunting, entrepreneurship, civic participation, getting the news and enjoying culture and community. Free (meaning subsidized) Wi-Fi is one solution.
Former City Councilor John Tobin, then representing the Back of the Hill, first proposed free Boston Wi-Fi in 2006. He rightly called it a civil rights issue and likened it to President Franklin Roosevelt pushing phone companies to offer long-distance service in low-income and rural areas.
Former Mayor Menino snatched up the idea, then put it in the suspended animation we call a “study.” It is remarkable that Mayor Walsh has launched a free Wi-Fi system on a large scale within his first three months in office.