Sprint, Kansas City kick off free Wi-Fi along streetcar route - Hotspot 2.0 coming

It's official: Downtown Kansas City is more connected than ever after the launch of its smart city initiative on Thursday. Sprint (NYSE: S), Cisco and Think Big Partners are partners in the effort, which eventually will include Hotspot 2.0 capabilities.

The program includes Sprint Wi-Fi, a free outdoor public Wi-Fi deployment across more than 50 square blocks downtown, 125 "smart" streetlights along a two-mile stretch of the new KC Streetcar line and 25 interactive kiosks to engage visitors. Sprint, in collaboration with Cisco, owns and manages the intelligent Wi-Fi network, which connects to a range of smart city applications. A spokesperson told FierceWirelessTech last month that they are deploying the technology to make the network Hotspot 2.0 compatible, which will be enabled in a later phase of the project.

The Wi-Fi build, which stretches along the streetcar route from the River Market to Union Station, is made up of small cells tacked to light posts -- the same kind of layout Sprint CTO John Saw told PC Mag is boosting the power of Sprint's "LTE Plus" network and will be necessary for 5G. For more on the Wi-Fi build and what it's doing for KC, check out this PC Mag article.