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Community Corner

Wide Spread Wi-Fi Coming For Downtown Chester

With a little help from a STEAP grant, downtown Chester will soon get a Wi-Fi upgrade.

Downtown Chester is getting a Wi-Fi upgrade.
Downtown Chester is getting a Wi-Fi upgrade. (Karena Garrity)

CHESTER, CT — Thanks to the reinstated Connecticut Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP), the downtown area of Chester will have enhanced Wi-Fi and internet connection soon.

STEAP grants have returned to the state, to help fund capital improvement projects in 94 small towns. Chester's grant is for $85,744. Terms of the grant call for the town to kick in $10,000 for a total of $95,744 to be used to implement public Wi-Fi and internet connection throughout the downtown area, by fitting adapters to the streetlights.

According to First Selectwoman Lauren Gister, currently, cell and internet service is less than stellar in the area, and the addition of this technology upgrade will help not only the business owners and economic development but also visitors and emergency communications.

"During hurricane Isais, three cell towers were knocked out, there was no cell coverage anywhere downtown," said Gister.

She added that with Covid-19, there are a lot more people working remotely and children being educated from home who are relying on Wi-Fi connections on a daily basis. Offering better connections in the center of town will be a plus for everyone.

"It will be better for everyone if our downtown is not a communications black hole," said Gister.

Currently, the town is in the process of completing the necessary final steps for the project, which includes approvals, paperwork, gathering design, installation and operational costs, as well as, collecting requests for proposals (RFDs). If all goes as planned, hopes are to have the new Wi-Fi system installed sometime by mid to late spring and ready for use this summer.

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