The city of Baltimore recently launched a free public Wi-Fi network, aptly named FreeBmoreWiFi. Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott said the free Wi-Fi initiative “marks a significant milestone in the city’s commitment to digital equity and inclusive access to technology for residents.”
The city said in a press release that the Office of Broadband and Digital Equity (BDE), a division of the Baltimore City Office of Information and Technology (BCIT), is overseeing implementation of the network. The initiative is funded by the American Rescue Plan Act through the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Programs.
In its initial rollout phase, FreeBmoreWiFi will be available at Middle Branch Fitness and Wellness Center and Solo Gibbs Recreation Center, with more rec centers expected to come online at the beginning of 2024.
Mayor Scott said this initial phase signifies the first step in a comprehensive plan to expand FreeBmoreWiFi’s reach across the city. By the end of 2024, the city said the network will encompass all of Baltimore City’s recreation centers. Future expansion of the network will include several senior centers and neighborhoods where the digital divide is most prevalent.
“In today’s digital age, access to reliable internet is a necessity and closing the digital divide is one of the most important civil rights issues of our time,” the mayor said. “As the rollout progresses, my administration envisions a more connected and inclusive Baltimore, breaking down digital barriers and providing opportunities for growth and development to all our residents.”
The city said it is specifically targeting recreation centers, senior centers, and underserved neighborhoods to ensure that residents with the greatest need will have access to essential services, educational resources, and career opportunities online.
“FreeBmoreWiFi is about more than internet access. It’s about inclusivity and helps residents leverage the power of technology for their benefit,” said Baltimore City CIO and BCIT Director Todd Carter.