Movement to Make America’s Parks a Wi-Fi Paradise
February 4, 2016 Leave a comment
by Analyst, Kevin Shaker
In the last few months we’ve seen a large push to make Wi-Fi available at parks across the country. Last week, a group of legislators wrote a letter to the President requesting deeper network connectivity and mobility across America’s 409 national parks. Currently, many of the country’s national parks have spotty reception at best.
The new National Park Service (NPS) networking hardware and the addition of Wi-Fi would not only improve visitor experience, it would make employees more effective. For example, Wi-Fi- enabled tools would allow trail rangers and tourist guides to better identify and communicate hazard positions and wildlife movements.
Early this year, NPS launched a “Go Digital” campaign, using the hashtag #NationalParks so visitors can share their wild life experiences through their mobile devices. Wi-Fi-equipped parks are becoming a hot topic and if you’re a router or network provider, you’ll want to pay attention to the President’s budget — scheduled to come out on February 9th. NPS officials have already started conversations on running a $34 million fiber-optic line from Grand Teton National Park into Yellowstone via CenturyLink. This line would create better connectivity for communication. You’ll want to reach out to the NPS Information Resources Directorate, which can be seen as the end-user implementation group as well as the Department of the Interior’s CIO IT Shared Services group.
The National Park Service isn’t the only group that might be expanding its Wi-Fi and mobile capabilities in the foreseeable future. The letter to the President comes shortly after the City of San Francisco finished installing Wi-Fi equipment at more than 30 city parks. Other cities such as New Orleans and New York City have already begun offering Wi-Fi areas within their parks as well. Parks across the country are inevitably becoming connected and if you offer network and mobile capabilities, you’ll want to become part of this exciting movement.
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