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Mayor Walsh announces "Wicked Free Wi-Fi," Boston's Public Wireless Network

April 10, 2014

Mayor's Office

Published by:

Mayor's Office

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the City of Boston’s Department of Innovation Technology (DoIT) announced today that the City of Boston’s free Public Wi-Fi is available with more than 170 access points within the public wireless network. Public Wi-Fi is reaching thousands of users across Boston’s neighborhoods. The largest concentration of access points, covering approximately 1.5 square miles, is located in Grove Hall. Residents, businesses, and tourists are currently accessing the Grove Hall Wi-Fi network with an average of 9,800 users daily.

“Wicked Free WiFi; Boston’s Public Wireless Network,” is the newly branded name to identify all of Boston’s current and future investments in free Wi-Fi access. Street signage for hotspots will soon be posted at locations citywide.

“Closing the digital divide and providing free public Wi-Fi in our neighborhoods is essential,” said Mayor Walsh. “We want every Bostonian to have the same opportunities in today’s digital world. Wi-Fi 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.”

Public Wi-Fi has been rolled out in many of Boston’s parks, schools, and downtown locations. The city’s fiber network –BoNet– is supporting the internet connection in public areas.

Wi-Fi was connected using resources from the City and its’ partners, as well as the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Choice Neighborhoods program.

The largest major Wi-Fi installation includes the Choice Neighborhood Grant; connecting the Grove Hall community and neighboring areas in 2013.  This location is also the most widely accessed, with an average of 7,735 daily users and 89% repeat visitors.

“HUD is very excited about Boston’s innovative use of Choice Neighborhood funding for the Grove Hall Wi-Fi project,” said Barbara Fields, HUD New England Regional Administrator. “This project is opening the door to opportunity for Boston residents, in particular students and we are proud to be a part of this ‘out of the box’ thinking that is improving lives.”

Moving forward, Boston is focused on strategically connecting the city; strengthening and expanding the Wicked Free Wi-Fi network.  Plans are in progress to connect Boston’s 20 neighborhood Main Street programs, with an estimated 130 access points.  Boston will continue to increase public Wi-Fi access points to drive economic development and develop municipal Wi-Fi to underserved areas. 

"Boston's goal is to use free public Wi-Fi to improve the lives of residents and increase the success of local business.  We will continue to work towards connecting more of Boston's neighborhoods," said Justin Holmes, Interim Chief Information Officer.

For more information on where hotspots are located, please visit: http://www.cityofboston.gov/doit/wifi/

Wicked Free Public Wi-Fi Metrics:

  • 14,559 visitors per month
  • 79.2% repeat visitors

Public Wi-Fi Areas include:

  • Grove Hall
  • Roxbury/Dudley
  • Allston
  • Boston Common
  • Charlestown
  • Choice Neighborhood – areas of Dorchester, Roxbury & Grove Hall
  • City Hall
  • Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway
  • Faneuil Hall
  • Dorchester
  • Hyde Park
  • South Boston