A downtown public wi-fi network is being planned for the area that encompasses North Street to Canalside, and the Erie Basin Marina. The City of Buffalo is working with M&T Bank to roll out the network. M&T will be instrumental in funding the engineering, purchase and installation of the system. University at Buffalo is also a stakeholder in the project, and is expected to provide fiber assets and expertise (network engineering design and management).
“If downtown Buffalo is going to be a thriving engine of opportunity for all city residents, we must find ways to support the entrepreneurs who are driving technological advances and creating jobs,” said Mayor Byron Brown. “With this outdoor, public Wi-Fi network, we are making another targeted investment to improve our city’s wireless infrastructure, moving us forward on the path to constant connectivity. I thank M&T bank for leading the effort to engineer, purchase and install the system in partnership with the City of Buffalo and the University at Buffalo as we work together to further strengthen our economy for decades to come.”
The initiative is comprised of over 30 hotspots that will allow users to gain free internet access.
“From the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus to the Theatre District to Canalside to HarborCenter, outdoor Wi-Fi along Main Street will soon be available to more than 58,000 people who work downtown, along with the million-plus visitors we see each year, and will help people connect and enjoy Buffalo,” said M&T Chairman and CEO Robert G. Wilmers.
The network is expected to be up and operational this summer. An initial access point is already installed and being tested.
“This is another example of M&T Bank committing resources, funding and leadership to benefit our community,” said Buffalo Place Executive Director Michael Schmand. “And it is a great example of public-private partnership, with M&T, the City of Buffalo and UB coming together for the greater good.”
“As a natural extension of our university’s service mission, UB has been a leader in developing our regional fiber network which, in turn, helps to advance the mission of our area colleges and public institutions that reside in the City of Buffalo,” said UB President Satish K. Tripathi. “We, as a university community, are excited to partner in the expansion of these Wi-Fi capabilities to enhance the experience of those who are working downtown, visiting our great city and enjoying the many cultural amenities present in our downtown corridor.”
Common Council approved the measure yesterday, giving a green light for the initiative to commence.