Will Boston's Citywide Wi-Fi Network Be Realized?

<p>Boston's plan to blanket the city with wireless internet access has met a series of obstacles which seriously threaten the project.</p>
April 4, 2008, 1pm PDT | Christian Madera | @cpmadera
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"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."

"The challenges in Boston parallel those in dozens of other cities across the United States and abroad that are grappling with technology glitches and higher-than-expected costs in launching public Wi-Fi, or wireless fidelity, networks. The networks are meant to enable people with laptops, handheld computers, cellphones, music players, and other devices to connect to the Internet cheaply via radio waves."

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Published on Friday, April 4, 2008 in The Boston Globe
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