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The City Journals

West Valley City Kicks Off its Free Public Wi-Fi

Apr 08, 2016 11:09AM ● By Bryan Scott

By Rachel Molenda | [email protected]

West Valley - More of West Valley City is connected since the launch of its public Wi-Fi service. The city opened its first hotspot at the West Valley Family Fitness Center in February and will bring 16 parks online by the end of this month.

“I think all of us have observed over the last few years the need for increased Internet access and the ability and the advantages that brings, whether that’s in terms of business, whether that’s in terms of all the things that we count on, and we just assume we’re going to be able to do,” City Manager Wayne Pyle said during a press conference.

West Valley plans to have free Wi-Fi for residents and patrons in all 22 of its parks by the end of 2016. 

WiFi can be found now in West Valley at the following locations: West Valley Family Fitness Center, Utah Cultural Celebration Center, West Valley City Hall, Centennial Park, Parkway Park, Fassio Park, City Park, Country Meadows Park, West View Park, Bridle Farms Park, Maple Meadows Park, Woodledge Park, Meadowlands Park, Falcon Crest Park, Back Nine Park and Hunter Ridge Park.

The network runs off of fiber optic lines the city officials have been building for a number of years as part of its participation in UTOPIA, the Utah Telecommunications Open Infrastructure Agency. West Valley City is one of 11 cities in Utah that have opted in to open Internet access.

City leaders promise high speeds at 100 MBPS, so residents can complete virtually any task they wish, from streaming to checking email to games, Pyle said.

UTOPIA Director Roger Timmerman said human behavior is changing what’s required of public Wi-Fi. While high speeds may not have been needed in the past, today’s Internet user wants a quick connection to complete a variety of tasks and networks need to be able to handle high usage.

“People come to the fitness center, and it used to be, ‘I will go do any of these activities,” Timmerman said. “And now these activities have some sort of connectivity tied to it. So the people doing cardio up here, they’re watching Netflix on their tablet, right?”

Public Wi-Fi will benefit the city, as well, Pyle said. In addition to providing the public with access, West Valley City can use the Wi-Fi for its own events, like the annual softball tournament. 

West Valley City spokesman, Samuel Johnson, could not say exactly how much money has been put into the project, but said, “Each park take a few thousand dollars to set up and run.”

Pyle said the biggest benefit of the project will be bringing Internet access to residents who may not currently have it.

“Unfortunately for a lot of people, they just don’t have access to technology,” Pyle said.

West Valley has the goal of bringing Internet access to all its residents, and UTOPIA plans to expand its network to more than 2,700 homes by the end of the year.

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