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BLink - Bluffs Community Wi-Fi

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Background
The City of Council Bluffs began offering free community Wi-Fi in 2009. The first Wi-Fi zones were downtown, the local sports complex, and Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park. In 2014, the Council Bluffs Community School District and the City of Council Bluffs partnered to expand the free community Wi-Fi network to students and residents in the community. The Council Bluffs Area Wi-Fi Consortium (CBAWC) is the lead organization responsible for the planning, installation, and maintenance of the Wi-Fi network. Iowa West Foundation is a supportive funding partner of this initiative.

“BLink - Bluffs Community Wi-Fi” was officially unveiled in October of 2016 with the launch of Phase I. Phase II launched in September of 2016. (See the exact coverage area below.)

As a major funder of this initiative, the Iowa West Foundation seeks to create a community where families choose to live and businesses choose to locate because of the quality of life and standard of living. BLink is truly a transformational project that does just that, offering a unique amenity to residents and visitors to Council Bluffs as well as an essential tool to the students in the Council Bluffs Community School District.

BLink2.jpgPartners


Technology can be a great equalizer for students and families from different backgrounds, but without access, it can’t happen. The Iowa West Foundation, along with these partners, is pleased to help bring this wonderful asset to more of Council Bluffs, Iowa using no citizen tax dollars.

  • Google
  • Charles E. Lakin Foundation
  • Echo Group
  • Mid-American Energy
  • Miller Electric
  • Ruckus Wireless
  • SmartWAVE Communications
  • UNITE Private Networks

Phases

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The free Wi-Fi network now covers the new Gale Wickersham Athletic Complex at Avenue G and North 18th Street, north of Broadway, between North 29th and North 16th Streets to Avenue I, Avenue L and Nash Boulevard. The first coverage area went live in October of 2015 and is located between 14th Street and 23rd Street, north of Broadway. Also included is an enhanced free Wi-Fi network in downtown Council Bluffs, around the historic 100 Block of West Broadway and Bayliss Park.

Outcomes

  • To provide reliable free community Wi-Fi to the citizens, visitors, and students in the coverage areas
  • To reach the doorsteps of nearly every home and business in Council Bluffs at project completion over the next five years
  • To cover more than 20 square miles, providing Wi-Fi access to more than 40,000 people, demonstrating the vision for community-wide access and growth
  • To attract young professionals, families and new businesses
  • To be the largest free and open public WiFi network in the country at project completion

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Fun Facts

  • At any given time, there are more than 1,000 users working, collaborating, communicating, learning, and surfing BLink
  • About 1,000 Wilson Middle School Students with district-issued Google Chromebooks can use BLink off campus.
  • Most families of Roosevelt and Franklin Elementary School students live in the BLink coverage area.
  • The Wi-Fi at Gale Wickersham Sports Complex can accommodate more than 5,000 simultaneous users. 
  • The busiest geographical area (users and bandwidth) is the four blocks along 16th Street (Avenue G to Avenue K) adjacent to the Charles E. Lakin Community Services Campus.
  • Already, two of the 10 busiest Access Points are in Phase II (29th & Ave E, and 26th & Avenue J)

Contact

David Fringer
Chief Technology Officer, Council Bluffs School District
712-328-6446

Diane Ostrowski
Chief Communications Officer, Council Bluffs School District
712-328-6443

Mark Howard
Chief Information Officer, City of Council Bluffs
712-328-4639

OUR VISION is a community where families choose to
live, and businesses choose to locate, because of its
quality of life and standard of living.

Iowa West Foundation    |    25 Main Place, Suite 550    |    Council Bluffs, Iowa    |    712-309-3000