'HiHillsboro' will offer access to the World Wide Web through much of downtown.

           Scrolling through social media, checking email and surfing the Web just got a lot easier for people on the go in downtown Hillsboro.

Last week, the city launched HiHillsboro, a free Wi-Fi network for anyone in the core of downtown between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. each day.

The city has provided free Wi-Fi outside the Hillsboro Civic Center since 2005, but the new program extends coverage throughout downtown. Wi-Fi coverage in downtown Hillsboro will reache about 10 square blocks from First to Sixth avenues between Washington Street and Lincoln Street, encompassing the Civic Center, Washington County Courthouse, Walters Cultural Arts Center and Hillsboro Transit Center.

"Downtown Hillsboro is the heart of our community and a key gathering place," City Manager Michael Brown said in a statement. "As part of the [City Council's] priority to continue Downtown's revitalization, the HiHillsboro Wi-Fi network is another way that we are enhancing the Downtown experience, making it more enjoyable, more equitable, and more connected."

The city already provides free internet access at Hillsboro Stadium and Ron Tonkin Field. It plans to expand HiHillsboro to Shute Park by next summer, city officials said.

The news comes on the heels of plans for a city-wide high-speed internet service, which is expected to launch in South Hillsboro and the Shute Park neighborhoods next year, with plans to grow citywide over the next several years.

HilHillsboro hotspots can be found at the Civic Center, Walter Cultural Arts Center and Hillsboro Transit Center, though the coverage extends the entire 10 blocks. The network can serve around 2,500 people at once at the Civic Center and 500 people at other locations within the downtown coverage area.

City officials said the HiHillsboro program will allow people who don't have fast access to technology the chance to keep up with rate of technological growth in the community.

"HiHillsboro Wi-Fi provides connectivity right now for our community, and it lays the foundation for future smart city opportunities to improve our quality of life by effectively and efficiently utilizing data, technology, and innovation," said Hillsboro's Information Services Manager John Taylor.

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