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County reaches milestone in expansion of free public Wi-Fi

Special to The Sun
State Sen. Troy Singleton speaks at Burlington County’s celebration marking the deployment of free public Wi-Fi at nine Burlington County parks and other county-owned facilities and buildings.

The Burlington County Commissioners joined with state Sen. Troy Singleton and other county officials at Historic Smithville Park earlier this month to mark a significant milestone in a county-led initiative to expand free public Wi-Fi to more areas of Burlington County.

Free Wi-Fi is now available in 20 county-owned buildings, all 15 Burlington County Library System branches and member libraries and nine county parks, including Smithville and Smith’s Woods. More than 100,000 users have connected to the public Wi-Fi service during the last year, according to the Burlington County Department of Information Technology.

Singleton, who championed legislation requiring the State to study establishing community broadband networks, said Burlington County’s free Wi-Fi expansion was a welcome step to help shrink the digital divide.

“Burlington County is making sure that the resources that are necessary for our community to stay engaged, active and connected are readily available,” Singleton said. “Expanding free public Wi-Fi is something vitally important. It’s helping to bridge the digital divide in our communities and making sure that those who can’t afford or lack internet at home are not shutout of important online resources and services.”

The expansion of the Wi-Fi service to parks started this summer at the Burlington County Fairgrounds during the annual Burlington County Farm Fair. Since then, the county has extended service into Willingboro Lakes Park, Rainbow Meadow Park in Delran, Pennington Park in Delanco, Crystal Lake Park in Mansfield, Long Bridge Park in Hainesport, Arney’s Mount Park in Springfield and Historic Smithville Park and Smith’s Woods in Eastampton.

Adding Wi-Fi to the parks and other locations is part of the county’s “Burlington County Connects” initiative to offer free internet connectivity to all county-owned buildings and properties. Doing so allows residents and visitors to access online services, including those who are unable to afford reliable internet service at home.

The Wi-Fi service in the parks also allows visitors to utilize online resources, including the Burlington County Parks System App and its maps of interior and regional trails and other amenities. The app launched earlier this summer can be downloaded for free from Apple or Google Play stores or by visiting Burlington County Division of Parks and Recreation (NJ) App Store Links (myocv.com).

To log onto Burlington County’s service, turn on your device’s Wi-Fi and look for “Burlco” on the wireless network list. Select it and connect.

In addition to the parks Wi-Fi, the county also plans to equip county vehicles, such as the Hope One unit and the Burlington County Library System bookmobile and Office of Emergency Management Mobile Command Center, with equipment to create “hotspots” where computer and device users in the area can access free Wi-Fi service during special events, emergencies and other occasions.

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