The City of Fort Worth is extending its public Wi-Fi signal into five neighborhoods where most residents lack home internet access. The project includes Ash Crescent, Como, North Side, Rosemont and Stop Six neighborhoods.
The city identified the areas through its Neighborhood Improvement Program, which relies on data such as household income and education levels to target improvements where they’re needed most. The neighborhoods also have low internet subscription rates, said Kevin Gunn, the city’s director of information technology.
Over the summer months, city crews and contractors will be installing equipment on utility poles that extends the Wi-Fi signal from city buildings such as community centers and local schools into nearby neighborhoods. Residents may be able to use the internet at home for free by accessing the signal on their smart phones, laptops or tablets.
Residents living in the five Neighborhood Improvement Program areas can follow these steps to access city public Wi-Fi:
- Turn on the Wi-Fi setting for your Wi-Fi-enabled device.
- Select “CFW NEIGHBORHOOD” as your Wi-Fi network.
- Agree to the terms of usage.
If “CFW NEIGHBORHOOD” doesn’t appear using the steps above, your location may be too far from the signal. City Wi-Fi won’t be as reliable as paid internet service. Atmospheric conditions, trees and power lines could affect the signal at your home.
“It won’t be similar to purchased service,” Gunn said, “but it will allow children to do their online homework or let someone fill out an online job application from home, for example.”
The city Wi-Fi signal is filtered, so some streaming, gaming or other sites are blocked. The city will not collect information or in any way track those using the city signal.
An estimated 60,000 Fort Worth residents lack home internet access. The project will allow many families to attend online classes or tap into social service resources, including city services. Residents using the city’s signal need to exercise the same precautions to protect their privacy as when using other public Wi-Fi systems.
City Wi-Fi access is made possible by $5 million in federal CARES Act funds.