Networking & Wireless

MIT Leads Collaborative Effort to Provide Free WiFi in Local Neighborhoods

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has partnered with several other organizations in an effort to provide free outdoor WiFi for two local neighborhoods.

The plan was initially brought to MIT by Google and took three years to complete, owing to the intricacies of building out fiber networks. MIT spearheaded the project and led a coalition that included the City of Cambridge, the Cambridge Housing Authority (CHA), Boston Properties, Alexandria Real Estate Equities and others as they took advantage of construction projects to build out the network. MIT will also host and maintain the new network as part of its existing system.

"The effort required patience," said Israel Ruiz, MIT's executive vice president and treasurer, in a prepared statement. "Our information systems and technology team worked carefully and diligently to put the necessary pieces in place. I am grateful for their steady work and for our strong partnership with Google, Boston Properties and Cambridge. That collaboration, including with the Cambridge Housing Authority, has created a vital amenity for Kendall Square and nearby residents."

The initiative focused on the Newtowne Court and Washington Elms neighborhoods in an attempt to provide coverage for CHA residents, 30 percent of whom did not have access to the Internet, according to information released by the city.

"Projects like this can help fill that need," said Liz Schwab, head of external affairs for Google Cambridge, in a prepared statement. "Access to the internet is critical, whether it's to complete homework, search for a job or get important municipal updates. We're happy to support installation of a WiFi network that will significantly increase internet access for our neighbors here in Cambridge."

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at jbolkan@gmail.com.

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