Cedar Park puts Wi-Fi in park

Cedar Park is now offering Wi-fi in one of the city's busiest green spaces.

Among the trees and soccer fields at Elizabeth Milburn Park, there's a new attraction.

“This is one of the access points that we had installed, and this is what provides the Wi-Fi coverage throughout the park and provides signals,” said Tim Scott, director of information services for Cedar Park.

He showed KVUE the ten new devices scattered throughout the park that now provide Wi-Fi.

"It gives them the ability to better upload videos of their kids or activities,” Scott said.

Scott said they looked at possibilities after the city council expressed interest.

"The park is a good test bed -- we get a lot of visitors to this park, specifically on our July 4th,” Scott said.

It's a three-year pilot program as a partnership with Spectrum.

Spectrum told KVUE it’s part of the company’s larger, national Wi-Fi presence.

According to Scott, right now, about 40 people already connect to it each day since the soft launch last month.

Scott said they’ve seen more than 5,000 connections in the month of July.

"We live in a connected world, so being able to provide that service is a great benefit to them,” Scott said. "Technology is a crave for everybody. Everybody's got more than one mobile device in their hands usually, and so being able to provide that connectivity wherever they are, is something our council desired, and something we wanted to provide as a city."

Tracy Rich takes his grandkids to the park and connected to the Wi-Fi for the first time Friday. 

"It is faster, and its just more reliable,” Rich said. "I think it's a great idea."

He said it will be helpful to send messages and post to social media.

"Photos, photos of these fellas,” said Rich as he looks at his grandchildren. “As many events as they have in this park, and of course we bring the grandchildren to swim, and of course mom and dad want a picture of what they're missing."

He even thinks it could help with safety.

"We don't have weather today, but if there was, keeping an eye on the weather would be very helpful,” Rich said.

Spectrum internet customers will get unlimited access.

"That’s even better,” Rich, who is a customer, said.

While everyone else can use it for an hour each day for free, they can then pay $2.95 per extra hour.

You can look for one of three network IDs: TWCWIFI, TWC WIFI Passpoint or Cable WIFI.

Michael Pena has been coming to the park for 16 years.

"I live about less than a mile from here,” Pena said.

He uses Wi-Fi when he travels.

"For me, it's a lot of music streaming,” Pena said.

Now he's excited to have it while he exercises close to home.

"It helps to reduce the amount of data I use from my data package,” Pena said.

He even thinks it will be more helpful later in the year.

"As the days cool down and kids want to stop here after school -- to do some of their homework -- you know, they can use the public Wi-Fi to do some of their school work,” Pena said.

When choosing where to put the Wi-Fi access points, he said they avoided any potential trip hazards and tried to make sure they would blend in well.

"We've tried to make them aesthetically pleasing, and make them blend into the environment as much as possible," Scott said.

He said they’re near the pool, basketball court and soccer fields.

"We tried to keep it in the high-traffic areas,” Scott said.

"I think it’s wonderful that the city invested in this, for the citizens, and its just another way of them looking out for us, and give us what we've asked for," Rich said.

"I think it was long coming, I think it's a good thing, it's going to help, or benefit the people who come here. There's different events that occur here,” Pena said.

But, the city does still want to remind parents to keep an eye on their children, not necessarily their phones.

"They're not buried in their mobile device, if anything they're taking video to send to their grandparents or something like that," Scott said.

The city will reassess the program at the end of the three-year contract.

The city said it’s too early to tell if they would possibly expand the Wi-Fi service to other areas of the city.

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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