Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune) Mayor Heather Jackson works on her laptop sitting in the grass in Nolan Park at Eagle Mountain. The city is planning to be the first in Utah to get citywide wifi. The local internet provider DirectComm is outfitting the town with access towers so subscribers can get wifi access anywhere in Eagle Mountain.
Eagle Mountain poised to get citywide Wi-Fi network
Wireless » Internet provider Direct Communications hopes to have system built by next year.
First Published Jul 24 2012 07:38 am • Last Updated Oct 30 2012 11:33 pm

Eagle Mountain is a small place of only about 20,000 residents tucked behind the Lake Mountains in Utah County. But it might gain one big-city distinction if all goes well because it will be the first town of its size in Utah to get citywide Wi-Fi.

That means by sometime next year, those in Eagle Mountain with a smartphone, laptop or computer tablet will be able to surf the Web and stream movies or music over a Wi-Fi network from anywhere in town. They won’t have to connect with an expensive cellphone carrier’s 3G or 4G network. And when they do connect to the Wi-Fi network, they can surf at speeds much faster than any cellular data connection.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Eagle Mountain’s network, once operational, will offer services over a 53-square mile footprint. Although some smaller communities in Utah, such as Ephraim and Manti, offer city-wide Wi-Fi, their networks cover less than four-square miles.

But unlike other government-run Wi-Fi-networks in, say, Portland, this is a private network that will be available only to subscribers of Direct Communication, the main Internet provider to Eagle Mountain.

Direct started setting up the network for the town’s local Pony Express Days festival last month at the local rodeo grounds, amphitheater and Nolan Park. By the end of this year, the provider hopes to have 20 Wi-Fi towers deployed in the city and 20 more next year, said Direct Communication spokesman Brigham Griffin.

"That’s extremely exciting," said Mayor Heather Jackson. "We have a lot of young families, a lot of technology-savvy people who live here. I’m excited for people to use that in our city. It’s an asset to our community that we have that other’s don’t."

According to Muniwireless.com, which tracks the development of municipal broadband networks, there were 110 U.S. cities and towns in 2010 that had deployed them that were open to the public.

Salt Lake City provides free public Wi-Fi networks in some spots, including Liberty Park, Pioneer Park, the Gallivan Center and the public libraries, said Grant Sperry, chief of operations for XMission, the Internet provider that set up the city’s networks.

"We have it in pockets around the city," he said. "To do something like that for even a small town requires some serious infrastrucure."

About 40 percent of Eagle Mountain’s residents are connected to a high-speed, fiber-optic network for their Internet connections. The rest are connected via DSL over telephone lines. For the Wi-Fi network, Direct Communications is connecting access points — antennas connected to towers — to its fiber-optic network, which is then fed to the Internet. Each tower has a broadcast range of about 800 feet. Three are up, and Direct’s Griffin said more are planned for the town’s baseball and soccer fields.


story continues below
story continues below

It is Direct’s plan to provide about 50 megabits-per-second speed for each tower, but that broadband will be shared, which means as more people in the area get on, the speed slows down.

When it was first deployed for the Pony Express Days celebration, the access was open to everyone for free. But now the network is available only to home subscribers of Direct’s Internet service for no additional charge, although that may change.

vince@sltrib.com

Twitter: @ohmytech



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.