Hartford, Connecticut launches wireless broadband pilot program

Hartford has launched a $1 million pilot program for wireless broadband service over the downtown area and Blue Hills, according to the Hartford Courant. The city will also be selling inexpensive computers to residents as part of the program (note: they estimate that on 25 percent of Hartford households have computers).Hartford has launched a $1 million pilot program for wireless broadband service over the downtown area and Blue Hills, according to the Hartford Courant. The city will also be selling inexpensive computers to residents as part of the program (note: they estimate that on 25 percent of Hartford households have computers).

Initially Wi-Fi access will be free; in March 2007 the city will charge $12 to $17 per month with the first 20 hours of access free. Mayor Eddie Perez hopes to expand the network to cover the city within three years at an estimated cost of $6 million. Hartford’s partner in this project is IBM.

I posted the Hartford Request for Information in November 2005 here.

More on the pilot program: Matthew Hennessy, chief of staff to the Mayor says that indeed, the pilot is in response to the RFI they had sent out. They chose the two neighborhoods because of the different challenges associated with each neighborhood. Downtown has challenges associated with the density of large office buildings and 50-60K business commuters each day. Blue Hills is a primarily residential neighborhood with a varied topography and a different deomgraphic make up than dowtown. The City is acting as the ISP and they are using Nortel for the mesh network.