Wi-Fi emitters dangle from a streetlight in Amherst town center
Work has commenced replacing the downtown WiFi emitters on our still somewhat rare free public Internet access, a joint project with two UMass professors six years ago who were doing a doomsday project for the Department of Defense.
All 14 or the original emitters will be replaced and another 8 access points will be added, bringing the total to 22. According to Information Technology Director Kris Pacunas the refreshed grid will be "faster, more reliable and will be able to handle many more simultaneous users."
Since the emitters are being replaced one at a time, at no point will the entire system be down and the work, costing $20,000, should be completed by mid-October.
The town also appropriated $85,000 to outfit Town Hall with a generator to allow the seat of government to become an Emergency Operation Center in the event of a major incident like the freak snowstorm last October 29, which knocked out all modes of communication including the public WiFi.