Monetizing Public Wi-Fi to Help Municipalities
Created by referendum in 1966, the Naperville, Illinois Park District is an independent municipal agency serving the recreation needs of its residents. The Naperville Park District’s mission is to provide recreation and park experiences that promote healthy lives, healthy minds and a healthy community.
The District maintains and operates more than 2,400 acres with 137 parks and facilities and provides more than 1,500 recreational, arts and environmental programs and special events annually. Included within the District’s operations are two championship golf courses; a multitude of playgrounds, trails, athletic courts and sports fields; Fort Hill Activity Center; Knoch Knolls Nature Center; two inline skating and skateboarding facilities; the Millennium Carillon; a paddleboat quarry; historic Centennial Beach; and the beautiful Riverwalk.
Wireless coverage in many of the parks was spotty or non-existent. Faced with frequent requests for Wi-Fi at its recreational and outdoor facilities, the park district looked into Wi-Fi for Centennial Beach & Rotary Hill, two of its most popular parks. The initial quote was $72,000 for equipment and Wi-Fi service for the first year alone. This was well beyond their available funding especially since they only expected to see around 4,000 devices during the three-month summer period in which the aquatic facility is most used.