Citywide Wi-Fi to get public airing

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Pittsburgh Councilman William Peduto endorsed a Downtown wireless Internet proposal yesterday, and council will hold an April 24 public hearing on the possibility of citywide Wi-Fi.

The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership is negotiating with Louisville, Ky.-based US Wireless Online to build a Downtown Wi-Fi network, which would allow users two hours of free wireless Internet access a day.

Council has been asked to approve legislation allowing Wi-Fi networking equipment on Downtown light poles. That has sparked discussion on how the city can get the service citywide.

Mr. Peduto said state law prevented the city from negotiating with Wi-Fi providers. Private groups can, though, and he is working with three, including the Pittsburgh Technology Council, toward that end.

"I've already received more than 10 calls from other [Wi-Fi] providers who want to be interviewed," Mr. Peduto said.

Mayor Bob O'Connor's administration has endorsed the Downtown plan, because it would cost the city nothing and could be operational by the July 11 Major League Baseball All-Star Game.


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