Last night the City Council voted to support our proposal to begin a process of installing free WiFi in our City Parks. The city is currently installing free WiFi in our all of our City Libraries by the end of 2013, and this will expand our WiFi service already at the Long Beach Airport and City Hall.
Long Beach has shown great leadership on technology issues and we need to continue to provide cutting edge services to our residents, visitors, and businesses. WiFi in public parks has become standard in many cities, and this will help solidify our position as a digital technology leader. Many professionals need to be mobile and choose to spend many working hours away from the office – if they even have an office. Creative professionals in the new economy expect reliable WiFi service to be available in an urban environment.
As you know, Long Beach has been named a top-ten digital city two years in a row, due to our investment in technology, including our Go Long Beach smartphone application, our new online permits and licenses, the use of social media, and many other accomplishments.
Creating WiFi hubs in our city parks will spark creativity, and growth - especially for young professionals.
The proposal, which was co-sponsored by Councilmembers Suja Lowenthal, Gerrie Schipske, and Steven Neal, directs the City Manager to produce a report on integrating WiFi into new public parks, and to look for private/public partnerships.
I'm confident that adding WiFi in our parks and libraries will not only help solidify our status as a digital leader, but has the potential to attract private investment by businesses that are part of the technology sector, or depend on technology infrastructure to carry out their business model.
Thanks again for your support, especially to the 800 people that engaged with me on this issue on Facebook.