Solving Cities

San Jose connects downtown to free Wi-Fi

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To draw more businesses downtown, the "Capital of Silicon Valley" is installing a free wireless network.

With a nickname like the "Capital of Silicon Valley" you'd think free wireless in San Jose would be a given.

Nonetheless, the city is working on a project, in partnership with Ruckus Wireless and SmartWAVE Technologies, to connect the city's downtown to free wi-fi by this summer, according to the San Jose Mercury.

Despite its reputation as a technology hub, San Jose, like many cities, is trying to attract more startups and entrepreneurs to downtown. What better way to do it in the tech-minded region than with free and easy wi-fi access? Lee Wilcox, San Jose's downtown manager with the city's Office of Economic Development, told the Mercury:

The companies locating in our downtown feel it's crucial for them to be in downtown to attract young professionals with amenities like restaurants, parks and sidewalk cafes. Having these young people have the ability to be out and about in downtown with access to the Web and social media with their friends is important.

It's an idea that the city has tried before. In 2004, San Jose offered a series of wireless hot spots throughout downtown, but the project eventually fell through.

This time the project will be paid for with parking revenue -- a one-time fee of around $100,000 to get the network up and running and $22,000 a year after that for upkeep. But, if it's successful this time around, it will be a small cost if it can help attract businesses downtown.

Photo: Kyle Flood/Wikimedia Commons

San Jose preparing to roll out new, free Wi-Fi network throughout downtown [San Jose Mercury]

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Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure