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Free Public WiFi Coming to Downtown Covington - with Celebration

Free public WiFi is coming to downtown Covington, starting with a party on Friday, June 8.
Renaissance Covington and Cincinnati Bell will welcome visitors to the Roebling Point business district for a kick-off celebration. People in downtown Covington will be able to connect to the internet from sidewalks and outdoor tables, and find access to wayfinding information about events, entertainment, shopping, dining, and businesses.
The party is dubbed "Light Up Covington" - and features the slogan, "Covington is about to get lit."
"Public Wi-Fi offers a new dimension to our urban core by offering a public service while also strengthening public spaces," said Katie Meyer, executive director of Renaissance Covington. "It opens possibilities for distribution of information and broader community engagement."
Renaissance Covington is partnering with Cincinnati Bell on the fiber-based network, which is being funded through private funds from The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation, R.C. Durr Foundation, and from Rebekah Gensler and Matt Butler.
The network is more than a big mobile "hotspot." It will also connect visitors to a captive portal that will be a hub for location information about downtown and its amenities.
In that regard, the project is an important step in accelerating the newfound momentum that is attracting business investment, residents and visitors to the urban core, City Manager David Johnston said.
"From housing to historic rehabilitation, and entertainment to new job opportunities, there's an energetic vibe in Covington's urban core that's growing stronger by the day," Johnston said. "And much of that transformation is happening because of strategic public-private partnerships like this public Wi-Fi network."
Jason Praeter, president of Cincinnati Bell's entertainment & communications business, said the project demonstrates the company's "commitment to partnering with civic leaders across the region as we continue our fiber build that supports high-speed, public Wi-Fi networks and Smart City technologies."
Events on June 8 include a ribbon cutting and a VIP Business Party where local businesses in the affect district will learn how the network can help them. (Businesses should e-mail [email protected] to attend.) The network will be available in public areas (i.e. sidewalks, streets and corner tables) in an area roughly bounded by 2nd Street to 10th Street and Madison Avenue to Scott Boulevard.
The block party begins at 4 p.m. at Park and Court streets in the Roebling Point District. Food, drink, music and games will be available, as well as live demonstrations.
-Staff report
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