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Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
A network node for the new free downtown Wi-Fi service hangs on a street lamp behind Freimann Square.

Free Wi-Fi a go for Freimann, One Summit

– People walking around downtown will soon be able to use high-speed Wi-Fi to connect their tablets and laptops to the Internet.

Frontier Communications officials announced Wednesday they have launched a Wi-Fi hot zone covering Freimann Square and One Summit Square. The hot zone is a series of interconnected and overlaid outdoor Wi-Fi access points that form a continuous zone of coverage.

The hot zone runs 24-7, officials said.

“Access to high-speed Internet is a game changer for cities,” said Greg Stephens, Frontier’s senior vice president for Indiana.

Stephens said that over the next year, the hot zone will expand, and then additional areas will be available for businesses to buy.

“We certainly appreciate the investment in downtown by Frontier,” Mayor Tom Henry said. “There’s no question in my mind that having this asset will position us for further growth.”

The cost of the system, which Stephens said was more than $150,000, was paid for by Frontier, with no expense to the city.

Stephens said the hot zone – which is already operating and will show up on users’ networks list as “FortWFree” – is a way to thank Fort Wayne for being so welcoming after Frontier bought Verizon.

“We wanted to give back to the community that’s treated us so well the last three years,” he said.

Frontier officials said the Wi-Fi is extremely fast and also has fast upload speeds, which sets it apart from most networks that have only fast downloads.