Boston comes up short in Wi-Fi effort [Telecom]

Boston comes up short in Wi-Fi effort Funding slow; plans for wide reach delayed

By Robert Weisman, Globe Staff | April 4, 2008 The Boston Globe

Boston's ambitious push to provide citywide wireless Internet access is faltering: Fund-raising is millions of dollars short, the volunteer heading the project may step down, and plans for universal coverage are being scaled back and delayed.

The group leading the effort acknowledges that it has raised only "hundreds of thousands" of dollars instead of the nearly $15 million it sought. And unlike its initial pilot project, which blankets the Grove Hall neighborhood, the next phase will target only portions of the Fenway and Mission Hill.

City leaders insisted they aren't backing away from their ultimate goal of Wi-Fi in every corner of Boston. Instead, they said, they're adjusting their expectations and abandoning their original timetable

- which promised citywide access by 2008 - to refocus on a series of neighborhood "bubbles" that test technology and business models.


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***** Moderator's Note *****

The city's wireless effort was started by Mel King, a former city council member and champion of local computer networks. Mr. King's efforts to blanket the Roxbury area of the inner city with wireless were done with a great deal of volunteer labor and a stunning lack of money.

Of course, such efforts are opposed by the current ISP's, so it's not a surprise that Boston's Brahmins backed off - but I don't think it will stop a force of nature like Mel King. Stay tuned.

Bill Horne Temporary Moderator

(Please put [Telecom] at the end of the subject line of your post, or I may never see it. Thanks!)

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Monty Solomon
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