Free Wireless in Twin Cities

Wireless Internet access will be available free of charge throughout the Twin Cities Wednesday as the Republican convention reaches its third day there, thanks to a partnership between MySpace, the city of Minneapolis, and Internet provider US Internet.

Wireless access is already available throughout the Twin Cities for residents and visitors who pay to use it, but on Wednesday the service will be free to anyone who can pick up the signal, with no password or promotional code required.

The goal, organizers at MySpace say, is to get more people online and highlight the Internet as a political resource.

MySpace has been reaching out to Democratic convention goers in Denver this week with a series of events and promotions, and it looks to expand those efforts in Minnesota. Four solar-powered stations will allow GOP convention goers to plug in and charge electronic devices on MySpace's dime, and four MySpace tents will offer free wireless Internet access all week long.

As more voters are keeping up with politics online this election cycle, and MySpace has sought a piece of that trend, launching its IMPACT political channel in 2007 and a presidential debates site in the next few weeks.

Offering free city-wide Internet will generate good publicity for all three sponsors, organizers hope. The free service will highlight Minneapolis/St. Paul's wireless capability--a technological infrastructure not many cities boast--and US Internet, which was tapped in 2006 to wire 60 square miles of the Twin Cities for access, will see ads placed on MySpace as part of the deal.