The next phase of BLink Wi-Fi is now live.

The fourth phase includes neighborhoods from South 16th Street to South 22nd Street and from West Broadway to Ninth Avenue, according to the Council Bluffs Wi-Fi Consortium, comprised of the stakeholders in the project.

“The continuous expansion of BLink increases the opportunities for our youth to learn beyond the classroom walls,” Mayor Matt Walsh said of the project that includes a partnership with the Council Bluffs Community School District. “This project is a great example of public/private partnerships.”

Partners include the city, CBCSD, Google, the Iowa West Foundation, the Council Bluffs Area Chamber of Commerce and other organizations and businesses.

BLink now covers the area roughly from North 29th Street east to South Sixth Street and from Ninth Avenue to the south to Nash Boulevard and Avenue I to the north, though the boundary area is not a perfect square. The 100 Block and the area between West Pierce Street and Kanesville Boulevard are also covered.

For complete coverage details, go to blinkwifi.org.

No password is necessary for the Internet connection, which can be found by searching wireless settings for the “BLink” network. All users have to do is accept standard terms and conditions for the network with their internet-accessible device.

“We are so pleased that this partnership and expansion will allow more of our students to access free Wi-Fi to do school work with their district Chromebooks or their computers at home,” said Council Bluffs Superintendent Vickie Murillo.

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The City of Council Bluffs and CBCSD formed the Wi-Fi Consortium to “connect residents with online resources for learning, email, social media, web browsing and audio streaming,” according to a release.

BLink will eventually be one of the most extensive free community Wi-Fi networks in the United States, covering more than 20 square miles and providing free Wi-Fi access to more than 40,000 people when the project is complete.

The project is fully funded by sponsors, with no tax money going toward the effort, according to the city.

“Technology can be a great equalizer for students and families from different backgrounds, but without access, it simply cannot happen,” said Pete Tulipana, president and CEO of the Iowa West Foundation. “We are pleased to help bring this transformational asset, with the potential to be the largest free and open network in the country, to more of Council Bluffs.”

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