HYDE PARK — Bringing a laptop to the beach won't look quite so odd starting Thursday, when the Chicago Park District expands its free Wi-Fi at the 57th Street and 31st Street beaches.
On Thursday, the Chicago Park District announced that 31st and 57th Street beaches are the newest to get free wireless Internet through a partnership with Everywhere Wireless.
“Technological innovations and investments lead to vibrant communities in which residents and visitors are able to stay connected to their families and their work — even while enjoying a day at one of Chicago’s beautiful beaches,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
The two new beaches means seven beaches now have free Wi-Fi: 31st Street, 57th Street, North Avenue, Hollywood, Montrose, Foster and Rainbow beaches.
Everywhere Wireless is picking up the bill for nearly all the costs, except power and some infrastructure, which the park district is paying for.
“This is a community giveback,” said Keegan Bonebrake, executive vice president of strategy and real estate at Everywhere Wireless.
He said the company, which provides high-speed Internet at mostly large-scale condo and apartment buildings, is exploring expanding free Wi-Fi further.
“We’re at seven, and that’s where we’re going to stay for this summer at least,” Bonebrake said.
Free Wi-Fi is provided at the South Shore Cultural Center and Garfield Park through a partnership with Google.
“The Chicago Park District constantly strives for new ways to enhance the patron experience at our parks and facilities,” said Park Supt. Michael Kelly.
At other beaches coverage has typically only been around beach buildings and concession areas.
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