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No Longer Banned In Boston: Citywide Wi-Fi

The City of Boston, long conspicuous by the absence of any municipal-wide effort to supply Wi-Fi access, is moving to support a citywide rollout of the wireless technology that is expected to be outlined in a report next week from a non-profit organization.

Mayor Tomas M. Menino announced the creation of a task force Wednesday that he said would "make Boston a world leader in wireless Internet access." A haphazard conglomeration of Wi-Fi hotspots, some located in city libraries, has sprung up in recent months, but the city has resisted establishing a comprehensive Wi-Fi plan, even as surrounding cities and towns have been moving to implement Wi-Fi.

The non-profit Boston Foundation is scheduled to unveil its plan for developing Wi-Fi across the city next week. Menino named three business leaders to co-chair a committee to study the issue: James I. Cash Jr., a Microsoft director and former Harvard Business School professor; venture capitalist Rick Burnes, who is a director of the Boston Foundation; and Joyce Plotkin, president of the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council.

The mayor said the task force will deliver its Wi-Fi report including recommendations this summer.

The 22-member Boston Wireless Task Force includes representatives from business, the community, and academia.

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