“Today, our neighborhood can say good morning to the world. That’s what the Internet does for people. It gives you a sense of connectedness to the rest of the world – our community has just been broadened today.”
These strong words were spoken this summer by 2nd Vice Chair of the Lake Como Neighborhood Advisory Council Leon Reed, Jr., after the successful Presidio-led rollout of a massive public Wi-Fi expansion in the City of Fort Worth.
Lake Como was one of many neighborhoods in the city to bridge the digital divide. The project provided an estimated 40,000 residents from underserved and unserved communities free access to community Wi-Fi.
As all aspects of modern life become more digital, a lack of access to the Internet is severely limiting. Opportunities for advancement are cut off, while the sense of belonging that Reed, Jr. alluded to can seem out of grasp. Once the global pandemic brought about social distancing measures that forced the digitization of most city services and ushered in an era of remote learning, city leaders knew the connectivity gaps needed to be bridged, fast.
The City of Fort Worth turned to Presidio to assist them in solving this massive technical and social challenge as quickly as possible. The Presidio team’s strong relationships within the city and reputation as a trusted digital transformation advisor made the city’s decision to partner an easy one.
Presidio set to work designing a network architecture and solving for challenging physical infrastructure hurdles while helping the city select the right technology for the job. The resulting Cisco Ultra-Reliable Wireless Backhaul is now the largest deployment of its kind for neighborhood Wi-Fi use in the United States.
“I’m glad that through the vision of Fort Worth and its partners (Presidio and Cisco), when I look at the map and see neighborhoods like my own, I see the city has taken note that a rising tide floats all boats. The city is making an effort to increase the tide so that all of its citizens can enjoy everything the world has to offer.” – Leon Reed, Jr.
Working with a very tight timeline, Presidio deployed a powerful, reliable and secure network that has brought these communities online and provided a foundation for digital equity. The network is extremely accessible and free to all citizens, including children using digital devices to do their school work, hybrid workers connecting from home, and job seekers uploading resumes.
“I’m particularly proud of the benefit that this will have to the children of our community in that when they go home in the evenings they’ll have a real opportunity to advance their education,” said Reed, Jr. “I’m also excited about the opportunity it gives the adult residents of my community. A lot of companies don’t even have in paper applications. Times have changed and the Internet’s replaced that. If you didn’t have Internet connectivity, you were last in line getting an opportunity to that job.”