Thursday, October 26, 2006

Downtown Hartford Going Wireless

Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez is going to announce tomorrow a plan to make wireless internet available in downtown Hartford and the Blue Hills neighborhood, according to a release from the mayor's office. Several other towns and cities in Connecticut, including New Haven, have been exploring free citywide wireless access (Enfield, are you listening?).

There will also be a plan unveiled to provide low-cost computers and training to residents, which the release says is a first for the nation.


Anonymous said...

What a coincidence! I just discovered the new wireless tonight, created an account for myself (I live in downtown, so I qualify) and I am using it now.

I'm no Eddie Perez fan, but this is great!

disgruntled_republican said...

Good stuff.

"Enfield, are you listening" Well, um, the simple answer...nope, not to much these days.

ctblogger said...

Blue Hills Ave is in the North End of Hartford and is where I grew up.

Wouldn't this money be better used in FUNDING KIDS PROGRAMS that keep the kids off the street. I'd take a kid not getting shot on Blue Hills Ave over wireless internet anyday...and that comes from a person who use to work in a kid's program until the funding was cut by the city.

Perez=the worse DLC Democratic mayor in CT.

ken krayeske said...

I can't quite fathom that in a city where at least 50 percent of the adults read at level three or below on the five step literacy test, where 27 percent of people own their homes, that wireless is a priority for Perez.
But I find myself squarely in the CTBlogger Camp.
This is a nice amenity for people who want to move into fancy downtown condos, but for kids in the neighborhoods, this does little to improve the quality of life.

turfgrrl said...

The Internet is an economic change agent. Urban areas that make it a public utility are making an investment of economic development that has far more job creation potential than the usual build out of some shopping center. Free wireless access has been available in Philadelphia for some time and has moved in that city in the direction of providing better access to city services, reduced operational costs and spurred tourism. Kudos to Perez. The increase in tourism has a direct impact on city revenues, not to mention job growth. more info on philadelphia.

Anonymous said...

Putting Tourism and Hartford in the same sentence proves Turfy is very happy hiding down there in Fairfeild county.

I'm thinking of buying an Armored vehicle to do Tourist tours of Hartford for white people like turfy.I'm sure they'll love the free wireless.They can send pictures of the boarded up buildings to there internet buddies.How Cute!!

turfgrrl said...

anonymous 9:02: You don't see that big building in the center of Hartford. It's called a convention center, and that's where trade-shows and the like occur. The people who come to these shows are called tourists. Why anyone would anyone want to discourage people from going to Hartford? Plenty to do and see.

Anonymous said...

It's a good idea and a crime stopper as well. Give the young men a laptop, free internet, and presto--they stay at home looking at porn.

Shadow said...

Turfgirl and Ken are both right. The Internet IS an economic change agent that also spreads knowledge and information. However, it is certainly no priority over the more pressing issues for Hartford, such as literacy and economic opportunity. After all, if 50% of people can't read past a third grade level, they can't get much practical use out of the Internet; if homeownership is impossible to afford, all the online tools and real estate directories are useless.

However, if the only option Perez is offering today is wireless or nothing, clearly wireless access is better than a lack of it. In otherwords, we're putting the cart before the horse, but if I can't have a horse, I'm not going to turn down the cart and walk away with nothing.

turfgrrl said...

shadow- Literacy can only be solved by reading, and after decades of educational programs, literacy has only gone down. (Some would say grammar has taken a bigger hit due to email, but I digress.) Learning does not require an educational program in order to take place, providing resources is what is required, and free accessible Internet is the largest classroom to offer. Or, in other words, if the tree worked for Socrates ...

Genghis Conn said...

I do think it's a step in the right direction. My library is in the middle of a poor, urban area, and we do allow members of the public to come in and use our computers. It's a big draw. There's a lot to be said for being exposed to a world beyond the city, and having access to all the resources you need to do schoolwork from home. Low-cost computers are also a nice touch.

Yes, more needs to be done in other areas, but I think this program will be beneficial. If the city where I work had any money, it would be a good idea for them, too.

Anonymous said...

Turf, you mentioned how they're doing this in Philadelphia without mentioning the large legal battle that the city waged against telecom companies in order to do it.

I'd love to see those legal bills...

Anonymous said...

GC--Aren't libraries going the way of the dodo bird? I mean, ya you get your low life's who come in and surf porn sites....but isn't that like the libraries main clientele now??? Bums who hang out all day??? You see a lot of them at the Hartford Public and some guy was caught "attending personal matters" while on the computer. Seems like libraries are a throwback and serve minimal public good.

Genghis Conn said...

A10:47 said: Aren't libraries going the way of the dodo bird?

Not at all. Libraries serve many important functions, including providing internet access for those who can't afford it. Libraries have always done this: we connect people with information, and with the rest of the world.

For example, my job is not just knowing where and how to get information, but how to teach others to do the same. How many people know how to search Google? Many. How many know how to search Google well? Very, very few. There's also a great demand for books still out there--more books were published last year than ever before in our history. People buy them and read them. They matter, and will matter for a very long time to come.

Go to a public library someday. You'll see a place that is full of people looking up information, checking out books, surfing the net and coming together as a community. And where would the college or university be without the library to help students and faculty find resources? There is so much to sift through out there--that's where information professionals like me come in.

A world without libraries would be a sad place indeed. I hope we never get there.

Anonymous said...

GC--You have a vested interest!!!

And why do you need a 4 year degree to be a librarian?????

Genghis Conn said...

GC--You have a vested interest!!!

True. But I got into this field because I believe the above already.

And why do you need a 4 year degree to be a librarian?????

It actually took me a little over two years to get it. :)

But the answer to your question is that there's a lot of thought, hard work and deliberation behind libraries that the public generally doesn't see. We need to know how to use (and use well) the resources we have, we need to know about all the resouces available, we need to know about cataloging, collection development (why we buy what we buy) and user instruction, and, increasingly, we need to know about how to make the best use of the web. That includes web design. I redesigned the template for this site by using what I learned in library school, actually (think what you will--at least it's relatively simple and easy to use). The short answer is that there's a lot that goes into be a librarian, and I find my education from library school helps me out an immeasurable amount in my job and my daily life.

ctblogger said...

Wiress internet in the North-End section of Hartford will do nothing but allow people to dowmload MP3's, play games, and download porn for free and the convention center is also a COMLETE joke (no one wants to book that place).

With Perez calling the state police every summer to get a hold on street crime in the North End, how will this wireless internet help things? I think people in the North-End would rather have jobs in their area then going online searching for jobs.

I'm someone who just types on a keyboard from my safe home, I was raised in that area and I know how hard life is for countless African-American families that struggle to make ends meet (the Blue Hills area is about 99.99999 percent black).

I have friends and family who are laughing at this silly internet thing simply because they would rather Perez do somehting to curb the violence which to this date, he has not done.

A wireless internet will not create job growth.

A wireless internet will not stop the violence.

A wireless internet will not keep drugs off the street.

Before you start commenting on the Blue Hills area, why don't you leave your safe zone and take a trip down to the North-End of Hartford. Stop on the corner of Albany and Blue Hills and take a little walk around the area and come back and tell me how a silly wireless internet will help those people in that area.

Hell, I bet you 50 dollars you won't get out of your car.

Anonymous said...

Yo-I am downtown Hartford and wouldn't venture to the north end for anything. The north end is off limits. You are right, of course.

The one thing Mayor Eddie cares about is--Mayor Eddie.

ctblogger said...

I take this issue so personally becasue in my lifetime, I've seen a once beautiful North-End section decay into nothing in the short span of twenty-five years.

The issue of violence in the North-End came up during the summer with Perez's grandstanding walk over to governor Rell's office after ANOTHER kid was shot in Hartford. I promised to do a write-up on my life experience growing up in the North-End and why I felt Mayor Perez was the worst mayor in the history of Hartford but the senate primary took all of my time.

With this new chapter in the laughable history of Perez unfolding, I feel that I have to fully explain where I'm coming from so everyone will better understand why this whole thing is nothing but a joke. Feel free to check out my blog and I'll post my two cents on this matter on Sunday.

Trust me people, this wireless thing is a joke.

Anonymous said...

When former PD Chief Harnett backed officer Murtha but the state's attorney went after him anyway (and since lost in Court exonorating Murtha) Perez went pussy foot and sided with the state prosecutors. Harnett left. The cops aren't the only answer to Hartford but it would be nice if the Mayor would support them when they do their job correctly in a very hazardous environment.