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Ballston BID Launches High-Capacity Outdoor WiFi Network


The 30,000-plus people who work in Ballston, and the neighborhood's residents, will soon be able to connect to high-powered WiFi from the outdoor public spaces in the area.

Ballston BID has partnered with Rockville-based Wi-Fiber to launch a free, public WiFi network capable of serving the neighborhood's entire population. BLinked, the first seamless gigabit-capable WiFi network in the DC area, will launch in the next week or two, according to the business improvement district.

Using 30 discreet antennae, the network will create a web of internet connection without the coverage holes that can happen with hot spot-centered public WiFi networks. The network will have the capability to handle an entire gigabit of data at any moment. By analyzing network activity, the system can redistribute resources to the areas with the most traffic to keep the wireless internet up to speed. 

The addition of a public WiFi network comes as Ballston is undergoing major redevelopments aimed at boosting the neighborhood's vibrancy. Forest City is adding 400K SF of retail to the corridor with its $330M renovation of the Ballston Common Mall, which just landed bowling alley/restaurant concept Punch Bowl Social as its first major tenant. Across the street, Jamestown is planning to launch a $140M renovation of Stafford Place once the National Science Foundation moves out.

The neighborhood also has a couple of multifamily projects in the pipeline that will help grow its population. Jefferson Apartment Group recently bought the site of the popular bar Carpool and plans to build a 22-story apartment tower. Ballston Station Housing Corp. is partnering with Bozzuto to build a 132-unit mixed-use project on the site of a historic church at 4201 Fairfax Drive.