Downtown Pittsburgh, Penn., has gone live with a Wi-Fi mesh network. From the steps of the City-County Building, Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership President and CEO Michael Edwards officially activated wireless Internet access for the city's Central Business District/Golden Triangle, North Shore and Lower Hill District.
"Wireless Internet access gives Downtown residents, workers and visitors the chance to enjoy all Downtown has to offer by being able to log onto the Internet at a cafe, a restaurant, a park or even the football stadium," said Edwards. "It's our hope that being connected will give Downtown a greater sense of neighborhood, community and cohesiveness."
Wi Fi Downtown Pittsburgh, as the network will be called, is powered by US Wireless Online and was a cooperative initiative of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership and the City of Pittsburgh
. The network can be accessed any time, outdoors, by clicking the wireless icon on their laptops or PDAs, selecting "Wi Fi Pittsburgh." Surfers have two free hours of Internet time, after that users will have to choose from usage options of varying costs.
During the opening NFL game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Miami Dolphins last Thursday, the city held a promotional kick off for the downtown network. "The response and the feedback to date have been overwhelmingly positive for this downtown Pittsburgh service," said Timothy J. Pisula, executive vice president and CTO of US Wireless Online.
"Our goal is to bring cutting-edge amenities to Downtown Pittsburgh to continue to enhance and enrich the experience of workers, residents and visitors to the area. Wi-Fi Downtown Pittsburgh creates a valuable community resource for connecting people while outdoors," said Edwards. He also called the project a "product of private investment and visionary support of Mayor O'Connor" who was a leading advocate of the wireless initiative before his passing earlier this month.
In addition to the downtown, Wi-Fi Downtown Pittsburgh is also providing municipal benefits, including four secured mobile command units now up and running for the City of Pittsburgh public safety use. In the coming months, it will address digital divide issues by providing complimentary connections in partnership with Wireless Neighborhoods, an alliance of community and faith organizations committed to support children's education, promote economic development and address other social barriers.