LA parks receive access to free Wi-Fi

Park-goers in the Los Angeles area will now have access to free Wi-Fi in six of the city's parks. The City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks partnered with American Park Network, which creates guides for national parks and public land, to bring the program live. The Wi-Fi service was fully paid for by Toyota, The Los Angeles Times reported.

The service, which has been in beta testing since July, was officially launched last week. The public will have access to the "Oh! Ranger Wi-Fi" network at designated spots throughout Cabrillo Beach, Echo Park Lake, Griffith Observatory, Pershing Square, Reseda Park and Venice Beach. According to Mark Saferstein, publisher and editor-in-chief of American Park Network, the aim of the program is to get more people outside and enjoying the city's parks.

"It's a way to get families who might not go to a park to go there and share with their friends on social media," he said.

By visiting a city website, people visiting the park will be able log onto the network and receive Internet access comparable to what they have in their homes, according to Councilman Bob Blumenfield.

At the same time as the Oh! Ranger Wi-Fi is being introduced, the city of LA has also rolled out a new mobile website that provides citizens with information on parks and recreational activities, like upcoming events, available services and programs and a hub for residents to post service requests.

According to Saferstein the speed of the Wi-Fi varies depending on which park it is being used in, but visitors will have connections fast enough to be able to check email and post pictures. The program is also expanding to New York, Saferstein said, and the hope is to eventually expand to more parks in Los Angeles and across the country.