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Free WiFi Coming to Parts of Hunts Point to Help Stop Local 'Brain Drain'

By Eddie Small | August 13, 2014 4:47pm
 The organization StartUp Box helped deliver free wireless to Hunts Point.
The organization StartUp Box helped deliver free wireless to Hunts Point.
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StartUp Box #SouthBronx

HUNTS POINT — Free WiFi is coming to Hunts Point — in hopes of keeping tech-savvy locals from going elsewhere for their online fix.

A wireless company and entrepreneur and former activist Majora Carter are bringing free WiFi to the neighborhood in an effort to help motivate talented people to stay, spend their money and start new businesses in the area, they said.

The first phase of the project will cover Hunts Point Avenue from Lafayette to Garrison avenues and Garrison Avenue from Barretto to Irvine streets, allowing local organizations like Hunts Point Alliance for Children and The Point to benefit.

"This pilot and the info gained from usage data will be used to bring in more support from government, corporate and foundation resources to expand the system as soon as possible," Majora Carter Group spokesman James Chase said in an email.

Wireless company Sky-Packets, run by Steve Amarante, contributed hardware and installation for free, and the WiFi is financed by the Majora Carter Group and StartUp Box, an organization affiliated with the free WiFi project and MCG Consulting that is meant to help South Bronx residents find tech jobs.

The system will be based at the corner of Hunts Point and Seneca Avenues in the software testing and training facility for StartUp Box.

One section of the network, at Hunts Point Avenue in the middle of Lafayette and Garrison, is already up and running, and the other part is set to go in this week, according to Chase.

Hunts Point residents should be able to reach the WiFi network regardless of whether they are at home or in public spaces, organizers said.

Chase said in an email that it would be around for "as long as the Verizon FiOS bill continues to get paid."