Today, Google announced that it will donate over $200,000 to bring free wireless service to Everest and Houghton Beach Parks in Kirkland, Washington. This free WiFi service in the City’s parks will enhance park users’ ability to work, study, shop, play, and communicate via the Internet from wireless devices like laptops, tablets, and smartphones. The Network will be owned and operated by the City. The Google donation will cover the costs of extension of the city’s fiber network from the City backbone to the parks, the equipment, installation and maintenance for three years.
“The City of Kirkland very much appreciates all of the ways that Google continues to contribute to the local community and is grateful to Google for this wonderful gift of connectivity,” states Kirkland Mayor Amy Walen. “Free and accessible access to the Internet from public places is important in our modern age and helps to make Kirkland a special place to work and live.”
Chee Chew, VP of Engineering and Site Director for Google Kirkland noted that “Every day, access to the Internet is becoming more and more important for people to get the information or services that they want. We hope that adding WiFi coverage in Everest Park and Houghton Beach Park will be valuable to Kirkland residents and visitors - whether they are attending the Junior Softball World Series at Everest Park or checking out the beach volleyball court at Houghton Beach Park."
The City of Kirkland already funds a free wireless network downtown and in Peter Kirk and Marina parks. Although the city wireless was once slated for expansion, the recession has prevented growth in the network.
“The Google donation will fill a strong and often requested need in the city and represents the close partnership between the city and Google,” notes Brenda Cooper, Chief Information Officer, City of Kirkland.