July 19, 2013

Mayor Emanuel Announces Free Wi-Fi at Five Chicago Beaches

New Service Builds Upon Millennium Park Free Wi-Fi; Additional Wi-Fi Locations to Follow

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Park District announced today that five city beaches will now offer free wi-fi to visitors. Starting today, beachgoers will be able to access free high-speed wi-fi at North Avenue, Osterman/Hollywood, Montrose, Foster and Rainbow beaches. The new networks at these five beaches are part of Mayor Emanuel’s overall commitment to extend free wi-fi to parks, beaches, and public plazas across Chicago.

“I am committed to making Chicago one of the most connected cities in the world by expanding access to high speed internet in people’s homes, businesses and in public spaces,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “In the coming months, we will build off of this initiative and the free wi-fi offered in Millennium Park by extending free wi-fi services to additional parks and public spaces throughout Chicago.”

Through a partnership with Cisco and Everywhere Wireless which began in May, the Chicago Park District identified five beach locations with existing infrastructure that accommodates wi-fi connectivity. The connectivity is being provided by placing wireless infrastructure on existing buildings, including condo and apartment buildings nearby the selected beaches.

“With today’s busy lifestyle, it’s important that we stay connected even when we’re spending a day at the beach,” said Chicago Park District General Superintendent Michael Kelly. “The availability of wi-fi adds a new amenity to the great experience that our beaches already offer.”

For the initial season, Everywhere Wireless provided the design at each location, Internet connectivity, backhaul equipment and setup. Cisco provided the wireless access points and cloud management services. The Chicago Park District is providing power, electrical work and infrastructure. Coverage will extend around the buildings and concession areas.  

Everywhere Wireless will cover the cost for this pilot program with the exception of power lines, which is covered by the District. Depending upon the success of the pilot, the Chicago Park District and Everywhere Wireless will consider continuing at the current locations and/or expanding to the other beaches.  Everywhere Wireless will pursue sponsorship to cover the cost of future expansion. 

For more information about the Chicago Park District’s more than 8,100 acres of parkland, more than 580 parks, 26 miles of lakefront, nine museums, two world-class conservatories, 16 historic lagoons, nearly 50 nature areas, thousands of special events, sports and entertaining programs, please visit www.chicagoparkdistrict.com or contact the Chicago Park District at 312.742.PLAY or 312.747.2001 (TTY). Want to share your talent? Volunteer in the parks by calling, 312.742.PLAY.