Baltimore launches free wi-fi in Inner Harbor

Tourists and other visitors to Baltimore's Inner Harbor will now have free access to wireless Internet service along the downtown waterfront promenade, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced Monday.

"Our Inner Harbor is an internationally recognized attraction, so it only makes sense that we provide residents and visitors with access to the world wide web," Rawlings-Blake said in a statement. "My administration will continue to pursue 21st century policies that create better connected communities."

The project, launched four months ago, involved installing "access points" around the harbor that can be connected to from people's mobile devices.

The city spent a total of $142,600 getting the service up and running, including $90,600 on hardware and installation, $14,500 on six months of service, and $37,500 on fiber optics installation, the mayor's office said.

It has a request for proposals out for continued service, and expects it will cost less than $2,000 a month, or $24,000 a year, to maintain, the mayor's office said.

The mayor joined Laurie Schwartz, president of the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore, and officials with the Mayor's Office of Information Technology to announce the new wi-fi zone, which extends along the Inner Harbor promenade from the Rusty Scupper to the west side of the World Trade Center.

A second phase of the project to expand downtown Internet service will extend the service from the World Trade Center to the Baltimore Public Works Museum, the mayor's office said.

"Projects like this are just the beginning of the opportunities that remain as we strengthen and expand the City's fiber optic network," said L. Jerome Mullen, they city's acting chief technology officer, in a statement. "We are building digital city infrastructure and the possibilities are endless."

Free wireless Internet is already provided in all the city's historic public markets, at Penn Station and at Community Action Centers.

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