- Associated Press - Friday, October 16, 2015

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - More Council Bluffs residents now have free access to outdoor wireless Internet thanks to an effort by the Council Bluffs Area Wi-Fi Consortium.

The Daily Nonpareil (https://bit.ly/1PmiEgA ) reports the group, a cooperative organization between the school district and the city, celebrated the launch of the Bluffs Community Wi-Fi network, dubbed Blink, on Thursday. David Fringer, the school district’s chief technology officer, said its goal is to bring as much free internet access to the area as possible to encourage teaching and learning.

Superintendent Martha Bruckner said the wireless network will make it easier for students to use their issued laptops during after-school hours.

“This is a dream come true,” Bruckner said. “This opens our doors in Council Bluffs.”

The open network is currently available in an area around Wilson Middle School. The second phase of the project will expand west between I-29 and U.S. Route 6. And the third phase cover and area from the riverfront along the west end south of Broadway toward Thomas Jefferson High School.

“At project completion, BLink will reach the doorsteps of nearly every home and business in Council Bluffs,” Council Bluffs Mayor Matt Walsh said. “It will demonstrate the city’s vision for community-wide access and growth.”

Mark Howard, chief information officer for the City of Council Bluffs, said funding will be awarded every year, which may pay for one or a couple phases of the network.

Fourth-grader Kyler Myers, who does not have access to Internet at home, says the new network will greatly aid in his studies.

“I’m going to do lots of homework,” he said during the network’s launch celebration. “It’s going to be easier now.”

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Information from: The Daily Nonpareil, https://www.nonpareilonline.com

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