Norfolk reworking plan to bring free Wi-Fi to Park Place, other areas

The City of Norfolk is looking at new ways to bring free Wi-Fi service to areas throughout the city, including Park Place which was to have community-wide access.

NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- The city is reworking its plan to bring free Wi-Fi service to an entire community in Norfolk.

Park Place would have been the first neighborhood to have community-wide Wi-Fi access, but a city spokeswoman said the original plan would not work.

Free Wi-Fi is offered at several locations in Norfolk, including all libraries and the MacArthur Square light rail station, but the Park Place neighborhood would have been the first neighborhood with the service.

Kelly Straub with the Norfolk Public Library said the city is considering other ways to provide Wi-Fi access to all areas of the city. The library plans to launch a Wi-Fi card service called “MiFi" at all of its branches.

“We’ll have “MiFi” cards soon, date to be determined, but those are actually items that people can check out from the branches and have Wi-Fi capabilities wherever they go,” explained Straub.

Straub said the library system also making upgrades to its bookmobile that will allow it to travel throughout the city and offer Wi-Fi service.

“She is our mobile unit, and she takes Wi-Fi access on the road. She's actually under renovation right now but as soon as she's back later this summer she’ll have increased technology and Wi-Fi capabilities on board,” said Straub.

The city also encouraging residents who have children in grades K-12 and receive reduced or free lunches to apply for Cox’s Connect2Compete program. That provides affordable Internet and devices to low-income students and their families.

“There’s no stopping technology at this point. We just want to get it out to everyone especially to kids and teens as they are learning and growing an developing,” said Straub. 

© 2017 WVEC-TV


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