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Home > Leadership > Mayor > News Room > Mayor Brown Announces Expansion of Buffalo's Free Public WI-FI Network

Mayor Brown Announces Expansion of Buffalo's Free Public WI-FI Network

BUFFALO - Buffalo’s free public Wi-Fi network continues to expand, with hotspot access points coming soon to Jefferson Avenue between East Ferry Street and East Utica Street. Mayor Byron W. Brown, joined by Council President Darius Pridgen, Masten District Council Member Ulysees O. Wingo, Sr., Brian Gelfand, the President of Blue Wireless, small business owners and residents, today unveiled JEFFREE WI-FI, a valuable amenity that will soon help both residents and small business owners stay connected. Mayor Brown made the announcement at the Beverly Gray Exchange Center, a one-stop shop training and resource center that encourages the growth and success of Buffalo’s minority, women and service disabled veteran owned businesses.

“Our business districts citywide are the economic engines of our neighborhoods and JEFFREE Wi-Fi will ensure that every business and every resident along Jefferson Avenue will have access to affordable, high speed internet,” said Mayor Brown. “As our City continues to grow into a thriving engine of opportunity for all city residents, we must find ways to support the entrepreneurs who are driving technological advances and creating jobs. With the JEFFREE Wi-Fi network along Jefferson Avenue, we are making another targeted investment to improve our city’s wireless infrastructure, moving us forward on the path to constant connectivity.”

There will be no charge to access the network. A franchise agreement for the municipal network is scheduled to be reviewed during an upcoming Buffalo Common Council meeting. The first access point will be installed once all the approvals are in place, and the network is expected to be in place for public use by early 2018. Individual hotspots, with a range of approximately 400 feet, will be spaced to create near continuous coverage, allowing users to leverage the system to connect to the Internet on mobile devices to surf the web, check email and use social media.

“This is a great investment for the residents and businesses along Jefferson Avenue,” said Council President Pridgen. “Free Wi-Fi access will assist efforts to close the digital divide and help disadvantaged residents access a utility that is becoming essential for everyday life.”

Council Member Wingo stated, “Public access to free Wi-Fi, in this day and age, has evolved from being a privilege to being a necessity as our society depends more heavily on internet access than ever before. JEF-FREE Wi-Fi will serve as a catalyst for building capacity of the residents of The City of Buffalo.”

“Blue Wireless, a locally headquartered wireless carrier, is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the City of Buffalo and play its part in enabling Free Wi-Fi access” said Brian Gelfand, President of Blue Wireless. “The future belongs to the connected and broadband is a modern-day necessity, not a luxury of the past. Equal and open access to broadband and the internet is a platform for opportunity, a kick-starter for business, an enabler of jobs, a tool for homework, and will lead to the bridging of the digital divide.”

The Beverly Gray Exchange Center, located at 334 East Utica Street at Jefferson Avenue, is among the organizations and businesses that will benefit from the expanded Wi-Fi network. Mandela Market will also benefit from the free Wi-Fi.

Ahmed Saleh, Owner of Mandela Market, stated, “Free Wi-Fi on Jefferson will be great for the area, it will bring more business and people will love it. It’s great for the neighborhood and will create more access for businesses.”
JEFFREE WI-FI is the next phase of Buffalo’s public wireless network, which was launched by Mayor Brown along downtown Main Street in 2015.