By Debra Stark, Councilwoman, Phoenix District 3

The City of Phoenix recently took steps to expand its public Wi-Fi coverage and help bridge the digital divide. This summer, my City Council colleagues and I approved the installation of Wi-Fi antennas on city-owned, public facilities through the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The expansion includes areas outside nearly 50 libraries, senior centers and recreation centers. The free, public Wi-Fi is available to all residents—especially students and parents who need access to the internet to participate in distance learning, and seniors who may rely on public centers to remain connected.

The expansion includes the following public centers near the North 32nd area:
• Shadow Mountain Senior Center
3546 E. Sweetwater Ave.
• Paradise Valley Community Center
17402 N. 40th St.
• Mesquite Library
4525 E. Paradise Village Pkwy.
• Mountain View Community Center
1104 E. Grovers Ave.

To use this service, you need a wireless device such as a laptop computer, smart phone, or tablet. Residents can now connect their devices daily between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. to access the free public service.

In most cases, Wi-Fi can be accessed by residents as far as the building’s parking lot for participating locations. Some users may walk up to connect outside of the building, while others may drive into the parking to connect from their car. The Wi-Fi signal is strongest closer to the building.

To learn more about all the free, public Wi-Fi locations and for more details, please visit phoenix.gov/freewifi.

Earlier this year, the Phoenix City Council allocated $293 million of federal CARES Act funds into three main categories: Community Services ($75 million); City Operations ($75 million); and Reserve to Preserve City Services ($143 million). The allocations include relief for residents and businesses in need of assistance. The City of Phoenix must expend these funds by the end of the year, and funds are still available.

For information on COVID-19 relief, visit phoenix.gov/resources. Additionally, Phoenix small businesses needing help can call the Phoenix Community and Economic Development hotline at 602-262-5040 or email [email protected]