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More people use East Arlington free Wi-Fi program monthly. Here's how other areas can get it

Arlington City Council Chamber is emblazoned on a tan building, as well as the city's logo of a star with an A" in its center.
Neetish Basnet
Fort Worth Report
Arlington launched a five-year pilot free wi-fi and smart lighting program in part of east Arlington in September 2021.

Arlington’s free Neighborhood Wi-Fi program has reached nearly 30,000 users since its October launch. Its director says he wants to expand it—but needs people’s help.

The service, supported entirely with federal CARES Act funding, covers homes between East Abram Street, Sherry Street, Park Row Drive and New York Avenue—an area where around 18% of the 1,164 homes do not have steady internet access and around 3 in 10 residents are enrolled in schools.

Jimmie Marks, city IT project manager, says the program gets more use each month.

“It’s going up consistently,” Marks said in a June interview.

The neighborhood is one of six that Marks says his team identified that could benefit the most from a free public Wi-Fi program. However, the city ultimately spent funding on a five-year pilot project solely covering the area.

Marks says people who would like to see the program continue past the pilot or cover their neighborhood should write to or call city council members.

“If we can get enough feedback to them, that we have a need that’s been asked for (by) the citizens, that’s definitely going to help us push forward with this,” he said. “I would like to see it go beyond the area we have, and that’s the way it would happen—if we hear the need from the citizens and if they give us feedback in this respect.”

People in the service area can connect to the internet using the provider #ArlingtonWi-Fi. The service support connection speeds up to 10 MB upload and download. The service works best outside and may not work indoors.

The program also installed smart lighting systems, which monitor the status of lighting fixtures and regulate energy consumption.

The program joins a tapestry of internet connectivity and Wi-Fi programs the city has pursued at the direction of Arlington’s Unity Council. The council-appointed task force presented leaders around 60 recommendations on addressing disparities in areas including education and workforce training.

According to a quarterly update on recommendations, the amount of monthly public Wi-Fi users has grown from 948 during its October launch month to 4,806 in July.

In addition to the program, the city has outfitted 19 library and parks and recreation facilities with Wi-Fi services. Arlington Public Library also loans out hot spots available for checkout one month at a time.

The city is also working with the company SiFi Networks on construction of a citywide broadband network. The company will install 10 million linear feet of fiber through city streets and contract with internet service providers to provide more internet choices to residents and businesses, according to a press release.

Got a tip? Email Kailey Broussard at You can follow Kailey on Twitter @KaileyBroussard.

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Kailey Broussard is a reporter for KERA and The Texas Newsroom through Report for America (RFA). Broussard covers the city of Arlington, with a focus on local and county government accountability.