Miami Beach is poised to join a growing list of local governments nationwide that are providing free wireless Internet access in parts of their cities.
The Wireless Miami Beach project would create a network providing free wireless Internet access throughout the city by mid-2006.
City Manager Jorge Gonzalez has announced plans to launch the Wireless Miami Beach project, with the intention of creating a wireless broadband network in Miami Beach by mid-2006.
The project's primary goal is to hook up city employees such as police officers and building officials to a secure citywide wireless network.
The dozens of wireless nodes that would be installed across Miami Beach to build the network for city employees would also be used to create about 25 hot spots -- places where anyone with a computer and a wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) card installed could get online for free.
Lincoln Road, Ocean Drive and city schools would be in that first wave of hot spots, with the goal of providing wireless access citywide.
"I've always been concerned about the digital divide, where the affluent have access, but those less fortunate don't, and the divide is becoming bigger and bigger,'' Gonzalez said.
"As a nation we are falling behind on the connectivity issue, and if I can make Wi-Fi access cheap or free to all residents, I certainly want to do that."
Other Florida cities, such as Hollywood and St. Cloud, already have some form of wireless network.
Also see: Miami Wi-Fi Hotels, Miami Internet Cafes