Council Bluffs Expands BLink Free Wi-Fi Zone

 

The Council Bluffs Wi-Fi Consortium is proud to announce Phase VI of BLink is live. Phase VI includes neighborhoods from S 22nd Street to S 35th Street, from Broadway to 9th Avenue. See Blink Coverage Map.

BLink is a free and open Wi-Fi network that boosts connectivity in many Council Bluffs neighborhoods, all Council Bluffs Community School District buildings, and many outdoor spaces such as Gale Wickersham Athletic Complex, CB Rec Complex, and Bayliss Park. BLink is available for students, residents, and visitors.

“The BLink Wi-Fi project continues to demonstrate the effectiveness and value of public/ private partnerships. Thanks to the relationships with Google, Council Bluffs Community Schools District, and Iowa West Foundation BLink is possible,” said Mayor Matt Walsh. “With many students learning from home due to COVID-19, expanding our free Wi-Fi coverage is more important than ever.”

The City of Council Bluffs Community had the idea of providing free Wi-Fi when Google donated Chromebooks to the Council Bluffs Community School District as part of a one-to-one initiative, one laptop per student. It became apparent that some students couldn’t use the laptops at home because they didn’t have internet access, limiting their success in school.

"At every new phase of the BLink expansion, more and more of our families have access to this awesome resource. It is such a source of pride that we have an innovative public-private partnership that is meeting an important need in our community," said Dr. Murillo, CBCSD Superintendent.

BLink funding continues to be a community-wide effort. No tax dollars have been used. While the project is led by the City of Council Bluffs and Council Bluffs Community School District, it is supported by many community partners who have contributed funds, time, materials, labor, or expertise. BLink Partners include Google, Iowa West Foundation, Charles E. Lakin Foundation, CB Area Chamber of Commerce, Iowa Western Television, Echo Group, Emspace, Mid-American Energy, Miller Electric, Ruckus Wireless, SmartWAVE Technologies, UNITE Private Networks, Bluffs Electric, City of Carter Lake, and OPPD.

"The access that BLink is able to provide to students allows them the fortunate opportunity to connect to their classrooms at home and after hours," said Warren Weber, Iowa West Foundation Board Member and Chair of the Early Childhood Task Force. "This is truly unique to our area, as many rural areas and even other urban districts do not have the free Wi-Fi service that's available in Council Bluffs."

At project completion, the BLink coverage area will reach more than 20 square miles, providing Wi-Fi access to more than 40,000 people and reaching the doorsteps of most homes in Council Bluffs. In an effort to assist students with connectivity during the Coronavirus Pandemic, the Council Bluffs Wi-Fi Consortium accelerated the installation of Phase VII. Phase VII work is underway and expected to be complete in early 2021.

For more information on BLink, visit www.blinkwifi.org.

 

*This blog originated as a press release from The City of Council Bluffs.

This post was originally published on December 18, 2020 on the Unleash Council Bluffs blog.