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City rolls out free public Wi-Fi along Jefferson Avenue

Residents and businesses along Jefferson Avenue on Buffalo’s East Side will now enjoy the benefits of the city’s newest public wireless internet network. In a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Mayor Byron Brown announced the launch of what is being called the Jeffree Wi-Fi Network.

The network was made possible thanks to a partnership forged between the city and local telecommunications company Blue Wireless. Brown hopes that this new initiative will help spur economic growth and development in the East Side neighborhood.

“We know that our small businesses are engines of opportunity in our community,” says Brown. “In our focus on opportunity for the city, our goal is to make sure that no neighborhood is left out and that no neighborhood is left behind.”

Not only do officials hope that the free Wi-Fi network will assist entrepreneurs in the neighborhood, but also to assist residents in finding jobs in this digital age.

“We all know we live in a different time, and sometimes you can’t even fill out an application, a job application, without having access to the internet,” says Assemblymember Crystal Peoples-Stokes, whose district encompasses the Jefferson neighborhood. “So for the mayor’s administration to be able put together all the dynamics that it takes to make this a reality for the citizens, is a phenomenal thing.”

Jefferson Avenue becomes the second area to receive free wireless hotspots within the city. In 2015, sections along Main Street, including Canalside, had Wi-Fi hotspots installed by the city, in partnership with M&T Bank.

Municipal Wi-Fi is becoming a trend across the country. Major cities such as Chicago and Houston have placed Wi-Fi hotspots in public areas and underserved neighborhoods.

Ryan Zunner joined WBFO in the summer of 2018 as an intern, before working his way up to reporter the following summer.