Pioneering technology firm has a plan to make Baltimore a more equitable, connected and high-tech future city
Baltimore, MD – December 11th, 2017 – The Baltimore Business Journal directed attention to closing the digital divide in a recent story. The story specifically highlights AiNET’s efforts to build a free, public access high performance Wi-Fi network available to all city goers.
Nearly one in three Baltimore City homes cannot access the internet, affecting the ability to register for crucial social benefits, and putting a strain on job searching and skill enhancement. Enormous sums are spent on expensive, limited, data plans and weigh heavily on educational performance and resources.
The digital divide has been generating interest, and more importantly, action. “This is going to be transformational for the way people live, learn and work in Baltimore,” said AiNET CEO Deepak Jain. “The network will provide a streamlined, high-quality experience for everyone in the city; helping many of those people who have been left behind,”
AiNET soft-launched the first leg of the network on October 9th, 2017 in the city blocks surrounding the company’s Baltimore data center, One Market Center at 300 West Lexington Street.
Richard Barth, dean of the University Of Maryland, School Of Social Work, spoke on the issue of the digital divide as well.
“Having access to online resources is, in this day and age, the equivalent of a civil right,” said Barth. “I’ve spoken to the school boards who include many parental figures, and the idea that their public housing unit could be ‘lit up,’ as they describe it, with Wi-Fi would be huge for them.”
“We crunched the numbers,” said Jain. “Bringing free Wi-Fi to the city works out to be a $2/hr. raise to the minimum wage, and if you take into account the economic and educational advancements, the benefits become even that much higher.”
The company plans to expand the network in concentric circles outwards from the downtown data center.
“We have met with the city council as well as the new CIO from the Mayor’s Office,” said Jain. “We’re optimistic that very soon we’ll be counting the users on the network in the tens of thousands.”