Fremont Park in midtown Sacramento this week became the first City of Sacramento park to offer free Wi-Fi to the public.
The free Wi-Fi, part of the City’s public/private partnership with Verizon, is only available during the park’s hours of operation, which run from sunrise to sunset daily. (Wi-Fi hours could extend when special events occur.)
To access the Wi-Fi, park visitors need to select “CITY-PARK-FREE-WIFI” as their network on their mobile devices. Once they agree to the terms and conditions, they will be connected to the internet. The Wi-Fi service relies on standard internet equipment and does not use 5G. Informational signage about the service soon will be installed in the park.
The free Wi-Fi will encourage more people to spend time in City parks as well as create a more equitably connected city, officials said.
“In today’s increasingly connected world, accessing the internet is a big part of social experiences,” said Council member Steve Hansen, whose district includes Fremont Park. “Providing free public Wi-Fi at our parks and community centers helps increase access to City services, activate community spaces and increase social connectivity among residents.”
In addition to Fremont Park (1515 Q St.), the City’s partnership with Verizon calls for free Wi-Fi in 26 other parks across all Council districts in Sacramento.
Work already has begun in Brooks Truitt Bark Park (1818 Q. St.), Carl Johnston Park (213 Eleanor Ave.) and the Bill Conlin Youth Sports Complex (7895 Freeport Blvd.); all three parks will offer free Wi-Fi in coming months.
The other 23 parks should go live with free Wi-Fi by the end of 2020, according to Verizon.
“The City is incredibly proud to offer this free service to the public,” said Natasha Greer, IT project manager for the City of Sacramento. “Not only will it help further bridge the digital divide, it will inspire more people to come out and enjoy Sacramento’s beautiful parks.”
Earlier this year, the Midtown Association launched Midtown Parks, a new 501(c)(3) nonprofit arm of the organization with a mission to increase health, vibrancy and community engagement by raising funds to invest in Midtown’s parks. In 2020, Midtown Parks will provide a variety of free pop-up programming at Fremont Park that includes mobile furniture for outdoor co-working spaces, free fitness classes such as yoga, Pilates and bootcamps, lawn games, and more activities that benefit the community in addition to the free public Wi-Fi.
Valuing innovation, the City of Sacramento entered into a public/private partnership with Verizon in 2017. In addition to free Wi-Fi in parks, the partnership facilitates the deployment of 5G for homes and businesses and provides tools to better manage traffic and make streets safer for cyclists, pedestrians and drivers.