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Walk in the Park Will Be an Online Experience in This Rural Town

Randy Sukow


The town of Canby, OR, is preparing for a celebration. Residents will soon be enjoying free Wi-Fi access in three of the town’s public parks. The city and its local telephone/internet cooperative, DirectLink, will hold a ribbon cutting for the new service on Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 5.

“These parks collectively attract more than 75,000 users annually. The secure Wi-Fi platform will promote city and community events and is intended to support tourism and local industry,” DirectLink said.  The service opening is especially timely during the COVID-19 outbreaks when access to cafes, public libraries and other sources of free Wi-Fi has been restricted.

Canby’s park project was one of three that NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association awarded Smart Rural Communities (SRC) grants earlier this year. NRTC is one of the sponsors of the SRC program which each year recognizes telcos building advanced communications in their communities. DirectLink offered matching funds to go with the $5,000 SRC grant and the city is contributing electricity to power the access points on street lamps (pictured).

“Once installed, the system will be capable of accommodating up to hundreds of simultaneous users with a free connection at each park,” DirectLink said. “The city plans to use the initial authentication screen to connect with the service to announce upcoming events for each park as well as relay important information. Internet speed per device and amount of connections can be adjusted over time as usage increases.”

Service is nearing activation in one of the three parks and should be active in a second by the end of August, the co-op says.

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