The rapid expansion of free high-speed wireless internet access across San Mateo County has reached the North Fair Oaks and Stambaugh Heller neighborhoods of Redwood City.
Nearly 100 WiFi access points have been mounted on streetlight poles in order to provide free wireless internet access to 665 K-12 students and to thousands of residents and community members within the neighborhoods, the County announced today. The network spans Chestnut Street, Rolison Road, Hoover Street and adjacent areas.
The project proved challenging as there wasn’t a direct line-of-sight to beam the signal in, according to Jon Walton, the County’s chief information officer. That challenge was overcome via a collaboration. Stanford University, Kaiser Permanente Redwood City Medical Center, and Equity Residential’s Avenue Two Apartments offered up their buildings to provide access, power and line-of-sight visibility to reach areas needing connectivity most.
“This expansion of the SMC Public WiFi network is part of the San Mateo County Digital Inclusion Initiative and was funded by part of the $6.3 million from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act grant,” according to the County.
The initiative, aiming to connect underserved students engaged in distanced learning, has provided 650 students in the Ravenswood and La Honda-Pescadero school districts with T-Mobile hotspots and Comcast Internet Essential connections; installed nearly 100 public wifi access points across the Woodland Park Communities in East Palo Alto; created “Park and Connect” locations at the Hoover Elementary and SportsHouse Sports Complex of Redwood City and East Palo Alto City Hall; and provided free wireless internet access sites at 13 SMC Public WiFi and 12 Public Library sites across Daly City, Brisbane, South SF and San Mateo.
An interactive map of free public WiFi locations can be accessed here.
Photos wireless access points installed on light poles in southern San Mateo County neighborhoods courtesy of San Mateo County.