Buffalo’s free public Wi-Fi network is growing. The City has announced that additional WiFi hotspot access points will soon provide free internet to households and businesses on Jefferson Avenue, between East Ferry Street and East Utica Street.
“Our business districts citywide are the economic engines of our neighborhoods and JEFFREE WI-FI will ensure that every business and every resident along Jefferson Avenue will have access to affordable, high speed internet,” said Mayor Brown, who was joined by Council President Darius Pridgen, Masten District Council Member Ulysees O. Wingo, Sr., Brian Gelfand, the President of Blue Wireless, small business owners and residents, earlier today as part of the announcement. “As our City continues to grow into a thriving engine of opportunity for all city residents, we must fnd ways to support the entrepreneurs who are driving technological advances and creating jobs. With the JEFFREE WI-FI network along Jefferson Avenue, we are making another targeted investment to improve our city’s wireless infrastructure, moving us forward on the path to constant connectivity.”
The pending arrival of JEFFREE WI-FI was announced at the Beverly Gray Exchange Center, a training/resource center that “encourages the growth and success of Buffalo’s minority, women and service disabled veteran owned businesses.”
“This is a great investment for the residents and businesses along Jefferson Avenue,” said Council President Pridgen. “Free Wi-Fi access will assist efforts to close the digital divide and help disadvantaged residents access a utility that is becoming essential for everyday life.”Council Member Wingo stated, “Public access to free Wi-Fi, in this day and age, has evolved from being a privilege to being a necessity as our society depends more heavily on internet access than ever before. JEFFREE WI-FI will serve as a catalyst for building capacity of the residents of The City of Buffalo.”
Moving forward, a franchise agreement for the municipal network will be reviewed by Buffalo Common Council. After that, access points will be installed along Jefferson, which are expected to go live in early 2018. The coverage will be provided by Blue Wireless.
“Blue Wireless, a locally headquartered wireless carrier, is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the City of Buffalo and play its part in enabling Free Wi-Fi access” said Brian Gelfand, President of Blue Wireless. “The future belongs to the connected and broadband is a modern-day necessity, not a luxury of the past. Equal and open access to broadband and the internet is a platform for opportunity, a kick-starter for business, an enabler of jobs, a tool for homework, and will lead to the bridging of the digital divide.”
The City initially launched its public wireless network initiative (along Main Street, downtown) back in 2015. This latest expansion is The City’s first free municipal WiFi expansion since that initial launch.
“Free Wi-Fi on Jefferson will be great for the area, it will bring more business and people will love it,” said Ahmed Saleh, Owner of Mandela Market located at 334 East Utica Street at Jefferson Avenue. “It’s great for the neighborhood and will create more access for businesses.”