Boston's Chief Information Officer Bill Oates joined openairboston.net CEO Pam Reeve at a 'wire-cutting' ceremony Monday in celebration of the city's first wireless pilot network in Roxbury and Dorchester's Grove Hall and Dudley Square neighborhoods. The ceremony marked a major step forward in Boston's wireless initiative, which in now delivering high-speed service to one of Boston's most underserved neighborhoods.
Since its soft-launch in late August, openairboston.net estimates that the network has already had over 3,000 unique users, with average session length of 79 minutes per user. The network now makes it possible for approximately 8,000 households within the pilot area access to the Internet for as little as $9.95 a month.
"Today, we are celebrating a significant milestone in bringing the power of the Internet to a community which may not have enjoyed access in the past," said Mayor Menino. "We are thrilled to deliver on this commitment at no cost to the taxpayers, and we hope folks will take advantage of low-cost Internet access that is now available to them."
Originally announced in October of 2006, the pilot has been overseen by former telecommunications executive, Pam Reeve, as CEO of openairboston.net, who has worked in collaboration with a team of city officials. Although the build-out was complete at the end of last summer, Menino said the city waited until now to announce the network to ensure signal strength and reliability for many users. The wireless pilot network is made up of 64 wireless radios installed atop buildings, light poles, and traffic signals, creating what is known as a wireless mesh network.
The pilot, which covers approximately a single square-mile of Boston, was enabled by hundreds of thousands of dollars of in-kind donations and equipment from four major contributing technology partners. Galaxy Internet Services is the Internet Service Provider (ISP), BelAir Networks provided the pilot's radios, metroNEXT provided the backhaul for the network, and AboveNet provided the wireless network's connection to the World Wide Web.
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