Breaking news: On August 21, 2006, the Smithsonian announced the launch of its first free outdoor hotspot in the Enid Haupt Garden behind the Smithsonian Castle. Two additional outdoor hotspots will follow this Fall -- one at the Hirschhorn Museum and one on the plaza beside the Museum of the American Indian. Click here for the full press release. The Smithsonian's new hotspots are one welcome result of the campaign which Open Park began in 2004 to bring free Wi-Fi to the National Mall. While the Smithsonian has steadfastly refused to grant Open Park the rooftop access necessary for installation of a Mall wide Wi-Fi service, in December 2005, after pressure from Congress, the Smithsonian finally issued an RFP for a more limited Wi-Fi installation and a companion antenna system to improve museum cell phone coverage. The RFP was won by Gulf Coast Real Estate Consultants, a small New Orleans based network integrator. It has given the Castle hotspot priority. (For more details about the RFP please click here.) A recent tour of the Haupt Garden hotspot was encouraging...click here to learn more.
In May 2005, the Smithsonian agreed to reconsider Open Park's request for rooftop antenna sites on the Mall. Click here for Jacqueline Trescott's story in the Washington Post. We are confident that the Smithsonian will do the right thing. But if you support Open Park's vision of creating a free community Wi-Fi park on the Mall, please contact the Smithsonian today and tell them so in you own words. Contact details for the Smithsonian can be found here. To learn more about the benefits that Open Park's proposed Wi-Fi service will bring to museum visitors and the general public alike, please click here to read our Congressional briefing. Open Park's proposal to bring free Wi-Fi service to the Mall has been endorsed by Virginia Senator George Allen. Click here to read his letter. Vint Cerf, widely known as one of the "Fathers of the Internet," and a long time Smithsonian member, has also written a letter to the Smithsonian's Secretary on Open Park's behalf. Last year, Representatives Mike Honda, Eleanor Homes Norton and eighteen other Members of the House recommended Open Park's proposal to the Smithsonian. Oregon Senator Ron Wyden also supports Open Park's vision.marks Open Park hotspot. marks Smithsonian hotspot.
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