Campus News

UB joining in project to bring free Wi-Fi downtown

SKT, Byron Brown and Bob wilmers

President Satish K. Tripathi shakes hands with Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown while Robert Wilmers, M&T chairman and CEO, looks on.

By JULIA SHANAHAN

Published April 16, 2015

An outdoor, public Wi-Fi network with more than 30 hotspot access points is coming to downtown Buffalo, thanks to a partnership between UB, M&T Bank and the city of Buffalo.

The free service will run along Main Street from North Street to Canalside and the Erie Basin Marina.

M&T Bank, with approximately 3,300 employees working downtown — including 2,500 on the Main Street corridor — is leading the effort to engineer, purchase and install the system.

UB, which already has a major presence downtown on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and is building a new home for its medical school on the Main Street corridor, is providing fiber assets and expertise in network engineering design and management for the network.

The first access point already has been installed and is being tested for performance. The rest of the network is expected to be installed and ready for public use this summer. Individual hotspots, with a range of approximately 250 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.

“From the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus to the Theatre District to Canalside to HarborCenter, outdoor Wi-Fi along Main Street will soon be available to more than 58,000 people who work downtown, along with the million-plus visitors we see each year, and will help people connect and enjoy Buffalo,” M&T Chairman and CEO Robert G. Wilmers said Monday at a press conference formally unveiling the new Wi-Fi network.  

President Satish K. Tripathi noted that as a natural extension of its service mission, “UB has been a leader in developing our regional fiber network which, in turn, helps to advance the mission of our area colleges and public institutions that reside in the city of Buffalo.

“We, as a university community, are excited to partner in the expansion of these Wi-Fi capabilities to enhance the experience of those who are working downtown, visiting our great city and enjoying the many cultural amenities present in our downtown corridor.”

Mayor Byron Brown explained that if downtown Buffalo is going to be 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 this outdoor, public Wi-Fi network, we are making another targeted investment to improve our city’s wireless infrastructure, moving us forward on the path to constant connectivity,” Brown said.

“I thank M&T bank for leading the effort to engineer, purchase and install the system in partnership with the city of Buffalo and the University at Buffalo as we work together to further strengthen our economy for decades to come.”