Mayor announces launch of free outdoor Wi-Fi service in Russell neighborhood
Mayor Greg Fischer, joined by representatives of the Louisville Metro Housing Authority and Russell area residents, announced today that Louisville Metro Government (LMG) has launched free outdoor Wi-Fi throughout the Russell neighborhood.
“In today’s world, fast internet is as necessary as any utility — for work, for learning, for health,” Mayor Fischer said. “Unfortunately, we know that far too many people, especially people in low-income neighborhoods, are being put further behind because they do not have reliable, fast internet. This is another step toward Louisville becoming a city of greater equity, where every person can reach their full potential.”
The Wi-Fi program is funded through a $400,000 Choice Neighborhoods Implementation grant awarded to the city through the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development.
Spectrum has installed 24 Wi-Fi access points at strategically chosen locations throughout the neighborhood. This means that residents in outdoor spaces in Baxter Square Park, in Beecher Terrace, and in other parts of Russell will be able to connect to free Wi-Fi while outdoors.
"This project called for the collaboration of many organizations and groups, including Russell residents," said Manfred Reid Sr., Chairman of the Louisville Metro Housing Authority’s Board of Directors. "Community feedback is a vital component of the Vision Russell plan, which has a broad goal of transforming Russell into a neighborhood of opportunity and choice. Russell residents were eager to express their desire to improve community connectivity, and their feedback made this effort possible. Not only does this technology link residents to resources, but it also creates an opportunity for them to achieve self-sufficiency and leads us all into a more connected Louisville."
The Mayor noted that LMG has prioritized digital inclusion throughout his three terms in office.
Speaking alongside Grace Simrall, Chief of Civic Innovation & Technology, the Mayor highlighted:
- 1,174 donated devices repaired and provided to digital skills training participants; and another 1,276 new devices provided to residents in need.
- The city has partnered with high-speed internet providers and the federal government to help promote and sign people up for the Affordable Connectivity Program, which now has nearly 43,000 participants.
- Creation of 15 dedicated community computer labs with Digital Skills Providers in addition to the city’s public libraries and community centers.
- Completion of Phase I of the expansion of the Louisville Fiber Internet Technology project, or LFIT, in 2020, which added 100 miles to LMG’s fiber network in west Louisville, along Broadway to Shawnee Park and into Portland via 22nd LFIT is a partnership with KentuckyWired, the Commonwealth’s project to provide what’s called “middle-mile” fiber infrastructure, a digital highway, so that private companies can come in and set up the final connection to households and businesses. The Mayor thanked Metro Council for their partnership in the $5.4 million city investment in LFIT.
- The Future of Work partnership with Microsoft to further promote digital skills, with a focus on underserved communities, including recent online workshops where 2,500 learned how to use Microsoft Excel, Power BI, and Power Apps.
“Even before I was Mayor, it was clear to me that Louisville needed to be better aligned with the fast-changing world of technology and innovation. That’s why, early in my administration, we created Louisville Metro Government’s first-ever team dedicated to civic innovation,” Mayor Fischer said.
A map of Russell Wi-Fi access points can be found here: https://lojic.maps.arcgis.com/apps/instant/basic/index.html?appid=d8cf3…