Nonprofit to install `open access' hookups By Robert Weisman, Globe Staff
Boston will tap a nonprofit corporation to blanket the city with "open access" wireless Internet connections, under a plan to be unveiled today by Mayor Thomas M. Menino.
The plan, which envisions raising $16 million to $20 million from local businesses and foundations, is a striking departure from the business models used by other cities, including Philadelphia and San Francisco, which have turned over responsibility for their wireless data networks to outside companies such as Earthlink Inc. and Google Inc.
By empowering an independent organization to own and operate the city's WiFi, or wireless fidelity, network, Boston is hoping to keep control of the technology deployment and use it to spur innovation, improve city services, and extend wireless Internet access into low-income neighborhoods across the so-called digital divide. WiFi allows laptops, handheld computers, cellphones, music players, and other devices to connect to the Internet at high speeds via radio waves.