Pittsburgh Wi-Fi

When Robert Scoble arrived in my office at Pitt yesterday, his first question was whether the law school offered open wi-fi. No, was the answer.

But Robert was still excited about the free wireless at the Pittsburgh airport and at the Omni William Penn.

This NYT piece covers some of the politics behind open wi-fi for cities.

UPDATE: Chris sent me this link, which reports on delays in creating wi-fi access for downtown Pittsburgh.


9 Responses to "Pittsburgh Wi-Fi"

Amos_thePokerCat said... 1/19/2006 9:44 PM

PIT has has almost no free wifi. What is particularly missing is free wifi in libraries. The only area library with free wifi is the Butler County Library in Cranberry with a fairly respectable 100KB/sec download speed.

Take Scoble to Hot Dogma. A dog and free wi fi. Although, they are not open late, or weekends.

Dreama said... 1/21/2006 10:41 AM

There is free WiFi at the Carnegie library in Squirrel Hill as well as the Carnegie business branch downtown. It's not at all well-publicized, though. I only learned about it when I saw someone using the web on their laptop at the Squirrel Hill branch and asked them what network they were tying into. While I understand that there are (ridiculous) politics involved in the tech endeavors of libraries, since the Carnegie system is well aware of how it's possible to roll out WiFi, I cannot fathom why they didn't do so with the branches in Brookline and Hazelwood which have been recently renovated -- they should've been set up for WiFi while the walls were open, etc. No forward thinking there. You'd also think that Plum, which has a glorious new library, with a beautiful outside deck for patron use, would think about wireless so that people could use that deck with their computers.

In general, the lack of open WiFi in Pittsburgh, given our tech sector, is appalling. Pittsburghers ought not be forced to go to a food establishment and buy overpriced, bad coffee or hot dogs in order to get online wirelessly. Not only are we lacking in public WiFi, compared to other cities on the east coast, we don't seem to have many citizens with wireless nets in their homes. (I'm not even speaking of networks that are open for wardrivers to use, but any networks at all.) It seems like wireless just isn't a priority in the city for anyone.

Amos_thePokerCat said... 1/21/2006 8:16 PM

Yup, the Carnegie Library even has a double supper secret page about wifi.
You have to do a search for it. It is not in the site map.

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Adam said... 1/23/2006 9:55 PM

Ok. So we're behind on free WiFi. Can someone tell me why this matters other than as confirmation of the general trend of Pittsburgh being behind in everything? That is, why should WiFi be free?

Amos_thePokerCat said... 1/24/2006 5:41 PM

Actually, I am not gung-ho on the idea of some city taxing entity giving away free city wide wifi. Concidering how bad the city and its minions have done everything else, the last thing I would want them to be distracted by playing with free wifi coverage. Heck, if you read the PIT Biz journal article, they choice a company, Vivato, to implement wifi that just went "poof". Nice job of of vetting, eh?

I do think it is a reasonable thing for libraries which have free computer terminal internet time to make wifi available for people with laptops.

BTW, the free wifi in the Sq Hill branch is pretty lame. 65KB/Sec max. It starts slow, 35KB/S, and ramps up. 175MB file takes about 47 minutes. Snoore.

Amos_thePokerCat said... 1/24/2006 5:44 PM

Oh, Mike, the Alec Baldwin thing is spam.

joe wertheim said... 1/24/2006 7:06 PM

The Mt. Lebanon Public Library has free wi-fi available

Amos_thePokerCat said... 1/26/2006 9:45 PM

Yes, they do, and they have some big fat pipes, 180-250KB/sec. 158MB file in 12minutes. 225KB/s average. nice.

... BUT ...

They have a proxy server, and it seems to be screwed down pretty tight. My first attempt at configuring secure ftp to use the proxy was forbiden. Not sure if a VPN would work. Didn't have a chance to test it.

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Pittsblog 2.0 is written by Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Send email to michael.j.madison[at]gmail.com. Mike also blogs at Madisonian.net, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

All opinions expressed at Pittsblog 2.0 are those of their respective authors and of no one (and no thing) else, least of all the University of Pittsburgh.

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