‘Wicked WiFi’ goes live in Boston

In this Aug. 27, 2012 photo, the Apple iPhone 4s, left, is displayed next to the Samsung Galaxy S III at a store in San Francisco. Apple already has won nearly $1 billion in judgments against Samsung over patent infringements involving older-model devices. Now Apple is alleging Samsung’s newest devices, such as its Galaxy S III, also copied Apple technology. Jury selection for the case begins Monday, March 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
In this Aug. 27, 2012 photo, the Apple iPhone 4s, left, is displayed next to the Samsung Galaxy S III at a store in San Francisco. Apple already has won nearly $1 billion in judgments against Samsung over patent infringements involving older-model devices. Now Apple is alleging Samsung’s newest devices, such as its Galaxy S III, also copied Apple technology. Jury selection for the case begins Monday, March 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
AP

It’s been a long winter in Boston and a lot of people are just getting used to the idea that they can go outside again. But in an effort to help rouse everyone from hibernation, the city of Boston is taking one of your household conveniences and bringing it outdoors.

There is now free public wireless Internet access in several spots across Boston, WHDH reported. The program is being called “Wicked WiFi” and was taken live on Wednesday, providing “more than 170 access points” across the city.

The report said many of those points cover a 1.5-mile area in Grove Hall, but that “plans are in progress to connect Boston’s 20 neighborhood Main Street Programs, with an estimated 130 access points.”

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A report from the Boston Globe indicatedthat many households will be able to use the service for everything from email to video streaming.

From the Globe:

The signal will be strong enough for many households within the coverage area to surf the Web, check e-mail, and use social media. Connection speeds will be just strong enough to live stream a movie or video of medium quality.

While that’s the case, the story said officials are stressing that Wicked WiFi is not meant to be a replacement for wired Internet that can be purchased.

Mayor Martin Walsh and city officials are hoping increased Internet access in the city’s low-income neighborhoods will help stimulate the economy and allow people to access resources they might not otherwise be able to utilize.

While speaking to the press in Grove Hall on Wednesday, Walsh emphasized the economic benefits of this program, Boston Magazine reported.

From Boston Magazine:

"Closing the digital divide and providing free public WiFi in our neighborhoods is essential," said Walsh while standing in the Grove Hall neighborhood on Wednesday, where the largest concentration of access points are available to the public. "We want every Bostonian to have the same opportunities in today?s digital world. WiFi access plays a significant role in every aspect of our lives from learning to earning. Our goal is to strengthen and expand our public network, and reach more families and businesses."

The service will be powered by the city’s existing fiber network, known as “BoNet.” Officials said that signs are expected to go up soon in areas where the service is available.