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Amherst Unveils State’s Largest and Fastest Outdoor Wi-Fi Network

Amherst Wifi

AMHERST, Mass. (WGGB) — So how did Amherst get to have the fastest, largest outdoor public Wi-Fi network in the state?

It all started with a partnership that formed 6 years ago.

“The project came about in 2007 when we partnered with UMass to put in the first round of the Wi-Fi, but this version started in June of this year, and it was backed by Town Manager John Musante as a way to enhance services for visitors, residents and  businesses in Amherst,” said  Kristopher Pacunas, the town’s Information Technology Director.

He says the network runs at 80 Mbps, about 4 times as fast as what you’d get from a cable modem.

It’s also free.

There are over 30 access points around the city, and as you can see, they’re blended into the surroundings. Pacounas says that over 1,000 people can be on the Wi-Fi network at once, which means you can get your 40 on the go, and not worry about waiting for it to load.

Even the network hasn’t technically gone live yet, Amherst’s Town Manager John Musante is already fielding questions from other towns about how they can start a similar project.

“As word spreads, we’re getting an increasing amount of feedback. It really is making downtown Amherst a better place to live or work or grow a business,” he said.

Of course, the network is also free to use for those who live downtown, which means they don’t have to worry about coughing up extra cash for internet service from a cable or phone provider. “We’re talking to people about come to downtown Amherst and leave your data plan at home. You won’t need it here,” Pacounas smiled.

If you’re in town, you’ll already be able to access it.

The project cost about $44,000 dollars.

The Wi-Fi network officially goes online tomorrow.