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South Bend announces 31 new Open Wi-Fi locations, tripling size of network

South Bend Mayor James Mueller speaks about the Open Wi-Fi expansion in front of Fire Station No. 7, which is one of the new sites.
Jakob Lazzaro
/
WVPE
South Bend Mayor James Mueller speaks about the Open Wi-Fi expansion in front of Fire Station No. 7, which is one of the new sites.

South Bend announced more than 130 new access points at 31 new locations for its free, municipal Open Wi-Fi network Tuesday, tripling its footprint. The new locations were determined following nominations from the public last year.

The city currently has 50 Open Wi-Fi access points. The majority are located downtown, but there are several in River Park, along Western Avenue and at Leeper, Rum Village, Phillip St. Clair, LaSalle and Pinhook parks.

Mayor James Mueller said internet access is vital for modern life — and so expanding the network will help bridge digital divides.

“You need connectivity to the internet to get ahead in a 21st century economy,” Mueller said. “It’s critical that we make sure all our residents have that access.”

The new locations were selected based on cost, existing infrastructure and potential impact. City Chief Innovation Officer Denise Linn Riedel said they received over 140 nominations in the fall survey.

The new sites are spread throughout the city and include parks, business corridors, community organizations and fire stations near residential areas and Transpo bus stops.

Some are already up and running, with the full expansion expected to be completed by December 2023.

A map of the new sites is available online.

Contact Jakob at jlazzaro@wvpe.org or follow him on Twitter at @JakobLazzaro.

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Jakob Lazzaro comes to Indiana from Chicago, where he graduated from Northwestern University in 2020 with a degree in Journalism and a double major in History. Before joining WVPE, he wrote NPR's Source of the Week e-mail newsletter, and previously worked for CalMatters, Pittsburgh's 90.5 WESA and North by Northwestern.