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Mayor Tim Keller Expands Free Wireless Internet Access Options Across the City

Partnerships between Department of Technology and Innovation and Albuquerque Housing Authority improves digital equity with public, outdoor WiFi at parks and neighborhoods.

Dec. 21, 2020

The City of Albuquerque announces the expansion of free WiFi for residents with Wifi in Neighborhoods and WiFi in Parks, outdoor internet connections at Albuquerque Housing Authority neighborhoods and select public parks in areas of particular digital need.

“High speed wireless is no longer just a luxury. It’s a basic need,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “As education, health services, and social connection move online, we are continuing to find innovative ways to provide access to the internet.”

The Albuquerque Housing Authority Barelas Senior Apartments served as a successful pilot for neighborhood expansion, with an increase of at least 80 percent since its installation.

WiFi in Neighborhood locations were decided based on a gap analysis created in conjunction with AHA and Albuquerque Public Schools and a request by Councilor Cynthia D. Borrego to advance the installation of the Ventana Ranch location.

The current areas with access to free outdoor internet access are:

  • Public Housing at Barelas 701 5th St. SW
  • Public Housing at Copper 9109 Copper NE
  • Public Housing at 124 Pennsylvania St SE
  • Barelas Park
  • East San Jose Park
  • Wilson Pool and Park
  • Ventana Ranch park
  • Locations previously announced at cabq.gov/wifi

Subsequent locations to be implemented by Dec. 31, 2020 include:

  • Public Housing at 415 Fruit Ave NE
  • Public Housing at 140 General Bradley St NE
  • Public Housing at 120 La Plata Rd NW
  • Public Housing at 608 Grove St SE
  • Public Housing at 6100 Harper Dr NE

“Our goal is to continue to break down barriers that result from lack of internet access,” said Director of the Department of Technology and Innovation Brian Osterloh. “We are finding innovative ways to build on what we started with WiFi on Wheels by utilizing the infrastructure we already have available as well as different technology to improve digital inclusion.”

Two types of technology are used depending on the location. In areas in close proximity to City buildings, line-of-sight devices link together to expand the reach of the originating WiFi signal across larger areas. In other locations, LTE gateway devices are installed to provide a static WiFi hotspot.

“This internet access is another way we are able to support our residents,” said Linda Bridge, Executive Director at Albuquerque Housing Authority. “It’s important that our residents are able to stay connected for education, social engagement, doctor’s visits, health related updates and other essential services.”

As part of the partnership with Albuquerque Housing Authority, the City will provide the originating WiFi, maintenance, and installation of devices. AHA will provide the locations to place the equipment as well as operating costs of that equipment. The cost to the City for the Barelas pilot location is approximately $30,000 for the hardware and installation, with funding from the CARES Act.

The expansion of free internet access began in the spring of this year with WiFi on Wheels - a partnership with APS to provide mobile hot spots across Albuquerque – as well as extending WiFi outside of City facilities.

Find all City free, outdoor WiFi locations at cabq.gov/wifi