Nation's First City-Wide WiFi Network Completed

Although Zamora, Spain was the first city in the world to implement a true city-wide WiFI network, it appears that Grand Haven, Michigan has become the first city in the United States to implement a city-wide WiFi broadband network.<br /> <br /> From the <a href="http://www.walkersands.com/Grand-Haven-First-Citywide-WiFi.htm">press release</a>:<br /> <br /> <blockquote>"As the first WiFi city in America, Grand Haven has truly lived up to its name in the Internet era, as we now allow anyone anywhere to connect to the Internet and roam the city and waterways in a completely secure computing environment," Mayor Bergman said. "The city-wide WiFi service provided by Ottawa Wireless is already enhancing the quality of life for residents and tourists and enabling the city to provide new services."</blockquote>

Read Time: 2 minutes

August 1, 2004, 8:47 AM PDT

By Chris Steins @urbaninsight


Although Zamora, Spain was the first city in the world to implement a true city-wide WiFI network, it appears that Grand Haven, Michigan has become the first city in the United States to implement a city-wide WiFi broadband network.

From the press release:

"As the first WiFi city in America, Grand Haven has truly lived up to its name in the Internet era, as we now allow anyone anywhere to connect to the Internet and roam the city and waterways in a completely secure computing environment," Mayor Bergman said. "The city-wide WiFi service provided by Ottawa Wireless is already enhancing the quality of life for residents and tourists and enabling the city to provide new services."

Wi-Fi Coverage MapAfter reading the press release I was at first confused, since I've read about many other cities that had wireless networks, but I was set straight by the interesting article: Is Grand Haven, Michigan Really the First Wi-Fi City?, which also compares the wireless coverage in Grand Haven with other city wireless networks, like Spokane, WA; Half Moon Bay, CA; and Rio Rancho, NM.

I just returned from several days of meetings in beautiful Vancouver, Washington and Portland, Oregon. How great would it have been to be fire up my laptop and have internet access from wherever I happened to be? But aside from the convenience and the cool factor, I bet most city managers would be more interested to know if there are direct and quantifiable economic development impacts from Wi-Fi'ing your city.

Thanks to Slashdot for the article reference.


Chris Steins

Chris Steins is Planetizen's co-Editor-in-Chief, and the founder and chief executive of Urban Insight, a leading technology consulting firm that operates Planetizen.

BART Train

Inclusive Prosperity: No Displacement Necessary

Recent analysis identifies nearly 200 U.S. neighborhoods that have achieved the highly-sought-after goal of increasing the prosperity of residents without displacing the existing community.

September 15, 2022 - Brookings

Green Healthy Community

Making Healthy Places

The editors of the book "Making Healthy Places," recently published in a second edition by Island Press, discuss the intersections of public health and planning, including key concepts such as green gentrification, health impact assessments, and AI.

September 18, 2022 - Laurie Mazur

Aerial view of homes west of downtown Chicago, Illinois

Chicago ADUs Concentrated in More Affluent Neighborhoods

An analysis of city-issued permits shows that homeowners in gentrified wards are building accessory dwelling units at much higher rates than those in less well-off communities.

September 18, 2022 - Chicago Sun-Times

Portland Transit

Promoting Diversity in Transit Leadership

Latinos in Transit works to connect and empower people of color to increase diversity in management roles at transit agencies.

September 25 - Smart Cities Dive

Screenshot of gameplay window with popup: "Error. Can't build in NIMBYville!"

A NIMBY Simulator Pokes Fun at All-Too-Real Issues

A classic game gets a sardonic update for the modern world.

September 25 - Bloomberg Culture

A rendering of a proposed development, with apartment buildings and neighborhood-serving retail.

Tempe’s Car-Free Developers Headed to Atlanta

Culdesac, developer of a massive no-parking multi-family development in Arizona, is headed to Georgia.

September 25 - Reporter Newspapers

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.