April 17, 2024


Unlimited Technology

Here’s why an Arlington neighborhood will get free Wi-Fi

A neighborhood in east Arlington will get free public Wi-Fi access thanks to a city program that aims to close the digital divide.

Residents and visitors can access the outdoor public wireless network on laptops, tablets and smartphones.

Arlington selected the neighborhood based on data from the American Community Survey, which found that 18% of households have insufficient access to home internet. In total, the area is home to 1,164 households.

In addition, 98% percent of the households have at least one computer, and 29% are enrolled in school.

The network will benefit people who are searching for jobs, working remotely, participating in distance learning and doing homework, the city said in a press release.

The digital divide, which refers to the lack of internet access in lower-income households, gained attention during the COVID-19 pandemic when work and school moved online for many.

Federal funding from the CARES Act provided $458,000 for the project, which also included the addition of smart lighting systems to improve energy efficiency. A city spokesperson said no plans have yet been made to expand the program.

Boundaries for the network are between East Abram Street to the north and East Park Row Drive to the south, Sherry Street to the east and New York Avenue to the west.

The network is designed for outdoor coverage, the city said, so indoor connectivity is not guaranteed.

To access the network, residents or visitors should go to Wi-Fi settings and select ArlingtonWi-Fi.

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