The mayor's office today announced a renamed and expanded wireless network which is aimed at providing free Internet access to residents and which could eventually wirelessly cover the city's 20 "Main Street" neighborhood commercial areas.
Already, an average of 9,800 people a day are using Wicked Free WiFi in Grove Hall, Mayor Walsh says.
Wicked Free "is the newly branded name to identify all of Boston’s current and future investments in free Wi-Fi access," the mayor's office says in a statement that apparently didn't make it to the Parks and Recreation department, which today announced a new WiFi hotspot at Jamaica Pond prosaically named "Boston Parks & Rec Free Wi-Fi."
The federal government is kicking in money for part of the work via a HUD grant. Connectivity for hotspots comes via BoNet, the city's internal fiber network.
In addition to Grove Hall, areas already covered include City Hall/Faneuil Hall, the Greenway, the Common and business districts in Allston, Charlestown, Dorchester, Roxbury, Hyde Park and South Boston.
These are in addition to the hotspots run by the Boston Public Library at all of its branches.
One area not currently covered by Wicked Free is Roslindale Square, which was one of the first - and few - areas in the city to get a public hotspot the last time the city announced plans for a major investment in WiFi, under Tom Menino, who got the idea from then City Councilor John Tobin.