New high-speed network increases internet accessibility for all
DETROIT – The Downtown Detroit Partnership (DDP), its CEO Eric Larson and Board Chair Cindy Pasky today announced the launch of free, high-speed public Wi-Fi internet in Downtown Detroit Parks and Public Spaces.
“Our parks have always played a vital role in bringing people together and the pandemic only reinforced the role of public spaces,” said Robert F. Gregory, chief planning and public spaces officer for the Downtown Detroit Partnership. “The new internet network brings our work to the next level, helping build digital equity by reducing barriers for community members and downtown Detroit residents without access, as well as affording greater ease and flexibility to visitors and small business partners across the parks.”
Approximately 15 percent of households across the country lack subscriptions to any form of broadband service and about 14 million access service only from a cellular data plan. Detroit’s digital divide is consistently cited among the most extreme in the country. Approximately 63 percent of the city’s low-income households lack a home Internet connection compared to 35 percent of U.S. homes across the country.1
The initial rollout includes five Downtown parks – Campus Martius Park, Cadillac Square, Capitol Park, Grand Circus Park and The Woodward Esplanade — which collectively attract more than three million visitors annually.
The community can start accessing the network “Detroit Parks” on all devices, without a password, at a total system capacity of 1GB and impressive speeds up to 10GB. Free Wi-Fi not only provides visitors equitable access to information, but the ability to use the park networks to conduct a varierty of important activities online, including: locating and scheduling COVID-19 testing or vaccinations, accessing education platforms and resources, seeking employment, learning more about park wellness programs and other offerings and maintaining social connections and support.
With more than 250+ programming and event partners, 300 market vendors and 75+ mobile food businesses that participate each year in DDP’s public spaces, this business eco-system can now take advantage of high-speed internet as a free amenity of the parks. With more online orders, deliveries and curbside pickups expected in 2021, a dedicated network is critically important to business owners and patrons alike.
Cronus Communications LLC, Detroit’s only headquartered internet provider in Michigan, generously sponsored and partnered with the DDP to install the combination fiber and fixed wireless network. The infrastructure uses fiber feeds from the Cronus network connected to transmitters across the parks, eliminating the obstacle of construction and complex underground infrastructure. The network can accommodate thousands of users online at one time.
“Cronus is proud and excited to partner with the Downtown Detroit Partnership to bring free public Wi-Fi to the Downtown Parks and Public Spaces. Our network’s reliability and speed helps users better communicate and capture life’s moments when it matters most. In today’s increasingly connected world, accessing the internet is an essential human right and this is one way we’re giving back,” said Tom Paparaptis, president of Cronus.
About Downtown Detroit Partnership
Downtown Detroit Partnership (DDP) strengthens and supports Downtown Detroit through strategic initiatives and programs. DDP convenes business, philanthropic and government partners to create a vibrant and resilient urban core for Detroit and the surrounding community. DDP is responsible for programming, managing and operating several of Downtown Detroit’s parks and public spaces. For more information, visit DowntownDetroit.org.
About the Cronus Communications LLC
Detroit-based Cronus Communications offers Michigan’s most-reliable internet access solutions that keeps your business running, no matter what. Visit www.Cronusc.com to learn more.
1 Bridging the Digital Divide through digital equity offices, Adie Tomer and Lara Fishbane, July 23, 2020