Visitors, shoppers and business owners now have access to free wireless Internet access throughout much of the central business district of Urbana and in Blair Park. Volo Broadband is providing the service, with the approval of the Urbana Park District and the City of Urbana.
"Today’s smart devices depend on robust connectivity like this. We’re proud to help make the downtown area and parks more modern spaces for living, working, and playing," said Peter Folk, CEO of Volo Broadband, the locally-owned company that is providing the new service.
The Urbana Park District has been investigating ways to affordably provide connectivity in the parks for several years, according to Urbana Park District Superintendent of Planning and Operations, Derek Liebert. "We’re excited to see what our users do with the technology, whether it’s more live-streamed events, doing homework in the park, or other creative uses," said Liebert.
"As Volo expands its fiber network, we look forward to working with the Urbana Park District to create more ‘smart spaces’ for Urbana residents and visitors to explore and play," added Folk.
The wireless services are a public-access component of Volo Broadband’s ongoing initiative to bring affordable next-generation Internet access to communities throughout Central Illinois. Volo’s fiber internet service, which is not free but does offer the lowest cost gigabit-speed internet service in the nation, is now available in areas of downtown Urbana and near Blair Park. This year Volo plans to continue expanding both of those coverage areas.
"Urbana leads the nation in the affordability of next-generation internet because of these services," Folk said. "Their affordability makes Urbana an even better place for all types of residents to grow their families and businesses, and have fun together."
Urbana property and business owner Matt Cho is excited to have such technology serving downtown. Cho has big plans for currently underutilized areas just north of downtown, noting that "these services are a key component to attracting high-tech companies to downtown Urbana."
Urbana Business Association Executive Director Cynthia Chandler agreed, saying that such technology "is a boon to downtown business owners" and brings new economic opportunity to the area. "This definitely increases our competitiveness," she said.