Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Article: http://www.inc.com/news/articles/200608/boston.html

This article discusses a new plan put forth by the Mayor of Boston to provide widespread access to wireless internet through out the city. The plan would not be built by a large telecommunications firm, but rather a non-profit organization that plans to raise the estimated 20 million dollars to get the system up and running within the next two years.
"Boston approves Non-Profit Wireless Network" was written a little more than two years ago, so I am curious to see whether or not the system was ever implemented in the city. I am also curious as to which non-profit organizations are going to raise this large amount of money, and how they plan on fundraising to make this proposal a reality.
Similar plans have been proposed in San Francisco and in Philadelphia, but they have partnered with Earthlink and plan on selling directly to end-users, whereas the Boston wireless network will be provided to users through other internet service providers who can access the network at low, wholesale costs.
I think this is a great program because, as the article mentioned, at that point in time 30% of Boston households went without any internet access. A low cost wireless network will not only help small businesses, but it will be beneficial for students who do not have access to the internet. When this plan is put into place, it will definitely help entrepreneurs in Boston, especially with the current problems we are facing because of the economy.
Out of curiousity, I looked into the organizations that have/plan to raise the money. They include the John Adams Innovation Institute, the economic development division of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, and the Boston Foundation (http://www.cityofboston.gov/wireless/). Moreover, I found a few articles stating that Boston has taken steps forward with this initiative and have provided internet access to certain parts of the city. As of last year, they went forward with a pilot program in one section of the city (http://www.cityofboston.gov/news/default.aspx?id=3829).

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