The T's started soliciting bids from companies willing to bolster WiFi service on the Purple Line and ferries in exchange for advertising opportunities, starting with painting over the AT&T logos now on the sides of commuter-rail trains (unless, of course, AT&T bids and wins). According to a T press release:
At-large Councilors Ayanna Pressley and Felix Arroyo say that rather than just let old payphones collect trash and rust, the city should use them to set up free wireless zones.
The councilors say Boston could use more places where people could get online for free:
There is a digital divide between different demographics and socioeconomic levels and such a program would expand access to the internet for more Boston residents.
The two will ask the full council tomorrow to approve a hearing on whether Boston could follow New York with a pilot of free, anonymous WiFi.
Think the mayor would WiFi this WiFi idea?
Galaxy Internet Services, which runs Brookline's townwide WiFi network, charges the wireless system Google used as it took Street View photos collected data on at least one occasion from Brookline wireless users.
Massport has announced today that they are offering free Wifi for the next two years! Since Thanksgiving, WiFi access has been free at Logan and other airports around the country due to a sponsorship deal with Google to provide the access for free that only required you to click past a splash page announcing Google's sponsorship.
The two months showed a sixfold increase in usage at Logan according to Massport and they wanted to follow up on that by continuing the program with other sponsorship.
Most of the tweets I see about WiFi on the rails (and there are quite a few) are positive. But Innismir shows not everybody's happy.
The effort initially focused on traditional wireless access points (like the ones you can see on lightpoles all over Brookline), but organizers realized that would prove impossibly expensive and so are now using a "mesh" approach, in which each subscriber's computer is essentially equipped to act as an access point through a cheapo router. The result: Free WiFi in parts of the Fenway.
Worcester Line experiment a success, so the T now plans to equip up to 258 of its 410 coaches with WiFi, with at least two cars on every single train WiFi enabled by this spring, T officials said this morning. WiFi cars will have a special logo slapped on them.
Here's a good reason to secure your wireless internet. Hari Balakrishnan and Samuel Madden have been helping themselves to your WiFi to collect traffic data, a lucrative commercial field. They've been doing it for more than a year, rather than pay for internet connectivity like everyone else.
Well, Grove Hall and Dudley Square, at any rate: $9.95 a month for wireless access, in the first phase of Tom Menino's citywide wireless effort.
I'm typing this while waiting for a burrito at DeNo's on Centre Street. Lord only knows why a pizza place offers free WiFi, and yes, I'm a nerdgeek for bringing a laptop to a pizza place (hey, I'm just getting back from a computer conference at the Expo Center), but I don't care: It's molto cool.
David Weinberger is sitting in the Brookline High School auditorium when he discovers why Brookline's municipal wireless system is awful - not only isn't it free, you have to sign up for a monthly plan, which makes it useless for visitors or people who just need to get on for an hour because, oh, they're sitting in the Brookline High School auditorium.
Steve Sherlock posts his experiences direct from the train when he lucks out and gets on one of the cars that actually has it.
... For a free service, occasional access to email will be helpful and beneficial. I won't plan on getting any real work done at this connection strength. ...
Jeff Egnaczyk is on the 7:40 train out of Back Bay. Come in, Jeff, can you hear us?
I only have two bars. I'm thinking the WiFi is in another car. It's kind of slow. I think I'm in Newton right now.
I've had two colleagues report the availability of WiFi on MBTA Commuter Rail trains this week, one on the Greenbush line, one on the Providence line. It seems legitimate enough, has a splash screen & requires one to agree to terms & conditions.
Has anyone else seen this? It's definitely not station-based.
The technology seems to be based on Parvus RiderNet.
Seth Finkelstein just happens to have a copy of the same software used by the city to decide what you get to see on your laptop while connected to the city's WiFi network in Quincy Market. And so he discovers exactly which Boing Boing post got it banned.
You're sitting down, I trust. It's a post about some guy painting a mural about the ocean.
Huh? Seems Boing Boing has a link to a Google search to bring up other posts about the guy that includes the term "safe=off," which means, if the guy has done any murals of NAKED PEOPLE those links might come up. And we can't have links to photos of NAKED PEOPLE showing up on screens all over the marketplace rotunda, now can we?
Banned in Boston.
Josh Ourisman says the Druid in Inman Square has the best shepherd's pie he's ever had - and free wireless to boot.
Sharon Gartenberg cannot believe Framingham is considering spending $1 million to create a downtown wireless zone:
... OK, so we can't afford to replace the terribly inadequate branch library in Saxonville, but we have a million dollars to spend so "Police, fire, public works, and health inspection services personnel all could work away from the office more efficiently with laptops and wireless Internet access"? Um, I don't think so.
And by the way, Framingham is 26 square miles, not just 3. If the service is for public employees, what possible rationale could there be to spend a million dollars to offer wireless very close to town offices, and not offer it in areas of the town more remote from town hall? ...
Herald Managing Editor Joe Dwinell checks in from the Quincy Market rotunda, where he files a blog post via the marketplace's free WiFi - and where he learns from a visiting Mayo Clinic physician that the wireless service won't be giving him a brain tumor:
... He has pulled up a seat next to me to blog along. He's also asking about Mitt Romney and how a liberal Massachusetts can elect a Mormon Republican. Checks and balances, I say. ...
John Keith explains why:
... Free and low-cost wireless is available - I use it all the time, at the public libraries in Copley Square and in the South End. Starbucks has monthly plans costing $29.99 and $39.99. The city has also announced plans to install wireless along its "Main Streets."
If there was a demand for wireless access, throughout the city, you can bet that a private company would have already entered the market.
That no one has, shows there is really no interest in this, beyond a few, good-intentioned, but misguided politicians. ...
Sitting on the front porch trying to see if our wireless access point was up, I did a site survey - and discovered somebody on the block now has a wireless network called:
Fuck Off Losers
At least they were smart enough to turn on encryption.
Sooz reports from Richmond:
... I'm a couple hours early for my flight and there's not much to do here at the airport. But guess what? Complimentary wi-fi! It is ridiculous that Comcast (who operates the wi-fi at Logan) won't give customers complimentary access despite all the money they get from us every month for cable services. Though Logan really should just give everyone access to begin with. ...
Steve Garfield explains why he's not impressed with the city's recently released proposal for a citywide WiFi network that would include for-profit competition:
... Once we have WiFi all over Boston, I am NOT going to want to pay a daily charge or another monthly charge to get online. ...