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Free Wi-Fi added at Mountain park as part of effort to bring internet to Hamilton’s public spaces

Hamilton’s digital officer says internet access has become an ‘essential service’

The City of Hamilton is offering free Wi-Fi at three city parks as part of a three-year pilot project. (Dan Taekema/CBC)

Hamilton’s William Connell Park boasts a spray pad, play ground and now, free Wi-Fi.

The city has announced it’s expanding its three-year pilot project offering Wi-Fi at public locations to the Mountain park.

It joins Gage Park and Waterdown Memorial Park as the three locations offering the service so far.

“The addition of Wi-Fi at William Connell Park will allow all residents access to services, information, online learning and more,” said Mayor Fred Eisenberger in a media statement.

“This pilot project providing Wi-Fi access in parks creates a more digitally accessible City of Hamilton.”

William Connell Park can be found at 1086 West 5th Street, near Stone Church Road West.

The pilot project was launched in late 2021. Wi-Fi is expected to be added at more park locations this year, with the support of a nearly $99,999 grant from the federal government’s Healthy Communities Initiative, according to the city.

Its media release added that expanding internet access in areas with the highest need can help bridge the “digital divide” that widened during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Free Wi-Fi is already available at 76 city locations, including arenas, recreation centres, municipal service centres and all Hamilton Public Library branches.

Cyrus Tehrani, the city’s chief digital officer, described internet connectivity as an “essential service.”

“The investments to enhance the city’s network capacity as well as expanding Wi-Fi to public spaces, parks and new city facilities not only makes for better space making, but ensures free access is available in the places where people congregate,” he added in the release.

The city says it will monitor the uptake of the free Wi-Fi pilot and consider expanding it to other public places in the future.