Internet-service company Ting has partnered with the City of Centennial to provide a free internet signal at Centennial Center Park, the company announced.
Park visitors now have access to several wireless hotspots throughout the park, and thousands can use the Wi-Fi at one time, according to Ting.
Centennial Center Park sits along Arapahoe Road just east of Peoria Street, next to city hall. The address is 13050 E. Peakview Ave.
“We are thrilled to be able to offer free internet to anyone who visits the park,” Sheelah Jones, marketing manager for Ting Internet, said in a news release. “We full-heartedly believe in lowering barriers to internet access, and we know that this is something that will elevate the experience for all park guests and for the residents of Centennial.”
Ting Internet, a division of tech company Tucows, first introduced its “fiber” internet to Centennial in 2018 and has been expanding service to more local residents and businesses, according to the news release. Internet that works via fiber-optic cable brings faster speed than other types of internet service.
Journey to fiber
In 2013, Centennial voters chose to opt out of a state law passed in 2005 called Senate Bill 05-152, which barred local governments from providing telecommunications services to residents or businesses. At the time, Centennial had a roughly 42-mile “backbone” of fiber-optic lines in many city streets to operate traffic-control signals.
Fiber communication generally works by sending beams of light down thin strands of glass or plastic, contained in a casing and running underground.
After kicking off construction in 2016, the city completed roughly 50 additional miles of fiber lines around December 2018. The project to build the new fiber in Centennial officially started in 2014. Centennial undertook the effort to provide improved services to city facilities, residents, businesses, schools and other facilities that serve the public.
That fiber system first ran through the middle of the city — roughly from Interstate 25 to Jordan Road — and then expanded through Centennial’s east and west parts.
Ting builds its own local fiber network in certain neighborhoods by connecting to the city’s fiber system, and it was the first internet provider to use Centennial’s fiber system.
Now, Ting’s public internet hotspots at Centennial Center Park allow park visitors to access “high-performance Wi-Fi,” the news release said. The hotspots sit throughout the park, providing internet access throughout the amphitheater, playground, splash pad and high-traffic seating areas, according to the news release.
Park visitors “should be able to move throughout the high-traffic areas of the park and maintain connectivity to the Wi-Fi network,” Jones said.
Ting announced the public park Wi-Fi in a July news release, but all 14 Wi-Fi access points at the park have been active since the installation in June 2020, according to Kelly Ohaver, a city spokesperson.
“The Wi-Fi was active in 2020, but due to the pandemic and limited access to the park, we decided to wait to announce the Wi-Fi with Ting,” Ohaver said.
Details of the deal
The city issued a request for proposals, or RFP, for Wi-Fi access at Centennial Center Park, and city officials ultimately selected Ting for the project.
The city and Ting partnered on the installation of the Wi-Fi access, and the city did not pay for the installation, Ohaver said. But Centennial did provide some “marketing concessions” such as signage in the park, sponsorship at city events and use of the city’s fiber system to enable the Wi-Fi provided by Ting, Ohaver said.
Locally, the project is the first free public Wi-Fi initiative Ting has launched, Jones said.
“However, Ting has installed free Wi-Fi hotspots in a number of the cities in which we operate,” Jones said. “They’re always well-received, and it’s a meaningful way for us to give back to our communities.”
Asked whether Centennial is considering having free public Wi-Fi installed anywhere else in the city, such as at parks or other types of locations, Ohaver said: “We have examined several options, but nothing (else) has been implemented to date.”
City points to park events
The operation of the Wi-Fi at Centennial Center Park is limited to park hours: 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. between May 1 and Oct. 31, and 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 1 through April 30.
Ohaver noted that anyone attending events in the park can “quickly and easily access the Wi-Fi.”
“The city offers a variety of no-cost, family-friendly events for the community and its residents throughout the year,” Ohaver said.
This year, the city plans to host a variety of gatherings in the park, including a few “brand new” events this fall, Ohaver said.
The public can view event details at centennialco.gov/events.
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