The City of Erie will soon bring free public WiFi access to the eight opportunity zones. When going to access it on your smartphone, you’ll notice something unique.

“We wanted to do something different. Typically today, on boarding portals are simply to accept the terms and conditions and you get your free WiFi access. We wanted to go back to the early days of portals where they more like an app-like experience that provided some level of value. That’s a choice.” said Ed Olsen, VP of Outcome-Based Financing for Quantela.

VNET has begun installing WiFi access points on the first 30 commercial structures in opportunity zone one.

“Making sure we are putting the access points where they need to be for the highest amount of efficiency, but then also making sure its being installed properly so the business owner or property owner knows that its especially pleasing and the cable and everything is done professionally.” said Bran Wiertel, VNET.

WiFi isn’t the only part of the Smart City Project. More than 2,000 LED street lights are being put on throughout the city, something that could help when the night life returns.

“Network controls also allow specific street lights to be brightened outside bars and theaters to keep patrons safe late at night or dimmed for special events such as fireworks.” said Brian Paganie.

A Penelec contractor began converting street lights in November and should be finished this summer. The funding for the WiFi project was made possible through the Appalachian Regional Commission Power grant.