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Free Public Wi-Fi Comes To NoMa

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The NoMa BID has provided free WiFi service to parts of the neighborhood, but some users say the service is still too slow.
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The NoMa BID has provided free WiFi service to parts of the neighborhood, but some users say the service is still too slow.

Parts of the NOMA neighborhood, roughly between Florida Avenue and Union station, now have free outdoor internet access. Kenny Calvin is one of more than 1,700 people who have used it so far.

"I get tired of sitting in a cubicle all day. I step outside real quick and check my Instagram or Facebook and the Wi-Fi comes in handy," Calvin says.

Robin-Eve Jasper is president of the NOMA Business Improvement District, which is providing the free Wi-Fi. She says it will be good for the neighborhood.

"So you're outside using Wi-Fi and you continue to buy your coffee and have a meal and meet with people," Jasper says. "It's another amenity that's consistent with NoMa being new, kind of cutting edge."

Jasper says it's fast enough for checking email, but not for streaming video. But some, like Scott Armstrong, say it's too slow. He waited three minutes to load a page before giving up.

"So far this isn't convincing me to use the Wi-Fi if it's gonna take this long. We're still loading," Armstrong says.

There are plans to expand the Wi-Fi service to reach 50,000 people. The initiative is expected to cost approximately $300,000.

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