Original article http://www.blinkwifi.org/
(Council Bluffs, IA)—The Council Bluffs Area Wi-Fi Consortium today launched the first phase of one of the largest free community Wi-Fi networks in the United States. When complete, the BLink (Bluffs Community Wi-Fi ) network coverage area will span more than 20 square miles, providing free Wi-Fi access to more than 40,000 people and reaching the doorsteps of nearly every home and business in Council Bluffs. This project demonstrates the city’s vision for community-wide access and growth, according to Council Bluffs Mayor Matt Walsh.
Resident, visitors, students and employees in area businesses will now be linked together by access to the free BLink Wi-Fi network within the first coverage area that is located between 14th Street and 23rd Street, north of Broadway, including the Charles E. Lakin Human Services Campus.. Also included in this first phase is an enhanced free Wi-Fi network in downtown Council Bluffs, around the historic 100 Block of West Broadway and in the Bayliss Park area.
The Wi-Fi consortium was formed by the Council Bluffs Community School District and the City of Council Bluffs to provide additional public Wi-Fi in the community where financially and technically feasible.
“BLink supports the community’s commitment to attracting young professionals, families and new businesses,” Mayor Walsh said. “Residents and visitors will be able to easily link to online resources, opportunities and to each other with BLink access to web browsing, email, social media and audio streaming.”
According to Council Bluffs Schools’ superintendent Martha Bruckner, students utilizing school district-provided Chromebooks and other devices can access the district’s wireless network at home, allowing for a safe, secure connection. “Council Bluffs students will no longer need to stay at school to have free access to email and to complete homework online,” Bruckner said.
BLink funding and implementation started as, and continues to be, a community-wide effort. Free Wi-Fi has previously been localized to Council Bluffs parks and in Council Bluffs schools, and will grow to include nearly every neighborhood in the area, phase by phase over five years. Phase two, to be completed by the end of the 2015, will expand BLink to the areas west of 23rd Street, north of Broadway.
The project is led by the Council Bluffs Community School District and City of Council Bluffs and supported through funding, materials and labor provided by the following partners:
• Iowa West Foundation
• Charles E. Lakin Family Foundation
• CBTV 17
• Council Bluffs Area Chamber of Commerce
• Echo Group
• MidAmerican Energy
• Miller Electric
• Ruckus Wireless
• SmartWAVE Technologies
• Unite Private Networks
For more information visit www.BLinkwifi.org