Five parks in Detroit are getting free public Wi-Fi and charging stations. It’s part of a pilot program happening in Bradby Park, Chandler Park, Clark Park, McDuffy Park, and Palmer Park. It’s part of an effort to increase internet accessibility in the city.

The Detroit Parks Coalition (DPC), in collaboration with the city and Connect 313, is bridging the internet access gaps in the community. They know that without internet access, people can miss out on so many essential things like completing everyday tasks, staying informed, working, studying, and more. That’s why they’re bringing these Wi-Fi installations to city parks to make sure everyone has equal opportunities to thrive and stay connected.

“Connect technology with being outdoors.”

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

“This is a fantastic opportunity to connect technology with being outdoors,” Alex Allen, DPC’s board president added. “Visitors can enhance their park experience by researching what they find in nature, or streaming music or their favorite show.”

This pilot program is made possible by the Detroit Pistons, Rocket Community Fund, and Knight Foundation. They have generously granted a total of $265,000 to fund this initiative. The funding covers everything from infrastructure installation to five years of service, all provided by Cronus Internet.

Wi-Fi construction will begin immediately and continue through the Fall of 2023. Grant funding will also support charging stations in each of the selected parks.

A 2017 Metro Times cover story reported that about 40% of the city had no internet connection, what critics said amounted to “digital redlining” that left Detroiters at a disadvantage.

The Equitable Internet Initiative (EII) is also working to address internet access in Detroit through neighborhood-governed community wireless networks. They said since 2015, Detroit has been one of the country’s worst-connected cities. In a city with a median household income of $26,249, 38% of homes have no Internet connection, 63% of low-income homes have no in-home broadband, and 70% of school-age children have no Internet access at home.

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