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Cincinnati Launches Mostly Free Wi-Fi Network

Cincinnati formally dedicated its Wi-Fi network this week and revealed that it covers a wide swath of the city that spreads along the Ohio River waterfront covering also the neighboring Kentucky cities of Covington and Newport.

The most distinguishing feature of the deployment is that it's free throughout most of its coverage.

The mesh network was built through a unique partnership of government, civic and business interests. The glue is a partnership called Lily Pad, which combines efforts by the city of Cincinnati, Time Warner Cable and the Lily Pad non-profit organization.

The program has already seen 28 free hotspots created, located throughout the region. Ryan Rybolt, a businessman who co-founded Lily Pad, said as of this week another 50 free hotspots are in the works. Most hotspots are underwritten by individuals and businesses. Visitors as well as Cincinnati -area citizens benefit from free Wi-Fi access.

One area covering 25 million square feet along the riverfront was established in about nine months, officials said.