By Amy Sylvestri • San Leandro Times
That neon sign at Pelton Center is old-fashioned, but it’s about to become a beacon for the internet age.
The City Council unanimously passed a plan last week to spend $68,000 to install a wireless access point on the 50-foot sign, which would bring fee outdoor Wi-Fi to a four-block area downtown.
A small hub device will be installed on the Pelton sign that will be barely visible. It will connect to the city’s much-touted fiber data loop. From the sign, signals will be sent to access points on nearby streetlights that would act as satellites points and expand the network.
It’s the first step to bringing free Wi-Fi internet access to most of San Leandro’s outdoor areas, according to the City Council.
“This is a very exciting time in San Leandro’s history,” said Councilwoman Corina Lopez at last week’s meeting. “It’s very emblematic of what we are doing around the city.”
Lopez said she would like to see Wi-Fi access at all the city’s parks, the marina shoreline, and other public spaces. There is already free Wi-Fi at the Main Library, the Senior Center, and Bayfair Mall.
The Pelton-based Wi-Fi will serve all of Pelton Plaza, the Village retail center, Parrott Street and the farmer’s market, and parts of East 14th Street and Juana Avenue. It is set to be running by July.
Mayor Pauline Cutter said that she hopes the free internet access will “welcome” tech-savvy shoppers, diners, and others to San Leandro.
“One of San Leandro’s goals is to bring ourselves up in the world,” said Cutter at a council meeting. “I think it’s very important to our youth and millennials.”