Hooking up with your favorite demonstrators or reporting those quasi-celebrity sightings in town for the Republican National Convention will be a lot easier thanks to a joint effort by the city of Minneapolis, USI Wireless and social media giant MySpace.
MySpace will offer free Internet access at four kiosk locations in downtown Minneapolis from Labor Day through Thursday, Sept. 4. Kiosks will be located on Nicollet Mall at 9th, 10th and 12th Streets S. and an area known as Convention Center Plaza at Grant Street E. and Second Ave. S.
On Wednesday, Sept. 3, the USI will open access to its wireless network. The network covers most of Minneapolis with the exception of a few “challenge areas.” The network is not available in St. Paul, site of the convention.
“Through a unique business partnership, the City and USI Wireless made this citywide wireless network possible,” said Mayor R.T. Rybak. “We’re now using that business model to help visitors and residents tap into this service during the four days of the convention.”
While there is an element of marketing for both MySpace and USI Wireless, Minneapolis remains one of the few major cities to establish a functioning municipal wireless network in the country, an accomplishment not lost on MySpace officials.
“Minneapolis is proving to be one of the top tech cities in the country, which helps make all of this possible,” said Lee Brenner, executive producer of political programming and director of MySpace IMPACT.
As previously reported by Minnesota Independent, efforts to create a wireless mesh-network during the RNC in St. Paul have yet to materialize.