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Group sets up WiFi hotspot in downtown Reading

Wifi hotspot set up in downtown Reading

READING, Pa. - Gone are the days of dial-up. Now, mainstream America is using WiFi and Reading is jumping on board.

Re-Design Reading partnered with MAW Communications to install the first public WiFi hot spot at the corner of Sixth and Penn streets.

"What we are seeing across the country is that locations that focus on broadband infrastructure are reaping the benefits of economic development," said Brian Kelly, executive director of Re-Design Reading.

Re-Design Reading executives said it is a way to bring Reading up to the 21st century and help attract and retain young people.

"Young folks, if you do not have broadband, they are not coming," said Kelly.

Many of the young people we stopped were shocked to hear about the new Internet capabilities.

"It is surprising," said Shaylyn Rosario of Reading.

But they said they are on board.

"It is actually a pretty nice thing. I am an IT student so it would be useful for me because I have to hand in homework at some point in time," said Chance Singleton of Reading.

"I will probably be coming down here a lot to sit there and hang out with my friends," said Rosario.

The hotspot is designed to handle hundreds of simultaneous users.

MAW Communications is providing the system servers and network security, but some said they still worry about hackers on public systems.

"I do not use public WiFi. It is not good for your phone because you can get viruses and stuff," said Rosalia Ortega of Reading.

Re-Design Reading executives said this is just the beginning. They hope to install more more WiFi hot spots throughout the city.

The WiFi signal extends one block in every direction from Sixth and Penn streets.

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