Free public Wi-Fi being installed at 5 Detroit parks

Project hopes to improve internet accessibility

Photo by Richard Deng on Unsplash (Unsplash)

DETROIT – Free public Wi-Fi will soon be available at five parks throughout Detroit as part of an effort to increase internet accessibility in the city.

Work is beginning right away to install free public Wi-Fi networks at five parks spread out across Detroit: Bradby, Chandler, Clark, McDuffy and Palmer parks. Installation construction is expected to continue through the fall, officials announced Thursday, June 1.

The Detroit Parks Coalition, which partnered with the city on the project and Connect 313, says the installations will benefit the community by bridging gaps in internet access. A lack of internet access can hinder a person’s opportunities to complete daily tasks, stay informed, work, study, and more.

“We are thrilled that our neighborhood parks will help bridge the digital divide and elevate quality of life for all Detroiters,” said Sigal Hemy, executive director of DPC.

The Wi-Fi project is funded by $265,000 in grants obtained from the Detroit Pistons, Rocket Community Fund and Knight Foundation, officials said. Some of those funds will also be used to add charging stations at the parks.

Cronus Internet will provide internet service to the five parks for at least five years.

Thursday’s project announcement comes two years after the city erected public Wi-Fi networks at Downtown Detroit parks and public spaces in hopes of bridging the digital divide. Since April 2021, free Wi-Fi has been up and running at Campus Martius Park, Cadillac Square, Capitol Park, Grand Circus Park, and the Woodward Esplanade.

In 2021, officials said about 63% of Detroit’s low-income households lacked a home internet connection. That figure was 35% nationally.

Nationally, the Biden administration has been working to improve broadband internet access in rural areas to help bridge that gap.

About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.