LREC brings free Wi-Fi to Norris Park

Grant D. Crawford | Daily Press

Lake Region Electric Cooperative CEO Hamid Vahdatipour, left, and Tahlequah Mayor Sue Catron announced Wednesday that free Wi-Fi access is now available at Norris Park on Muskogee Avenue.

Although recent weather might have kept locals from enjoying the outdoors, they have another reason to visit one of Tahlequah's parks once the weather clears up.

Thanks to a partnership between the city of Tahlequah and Lake Region Electric Cooperative, patrons of Norris Park now have access to free Wi-Fi.

Mayor Sue Catron said the idea was first brought to her by LREC officials during a meeting early on in her tenure as mayor, and she thought it would be "a tremendous benefit" to the community.

"I see ours as an active community where people are out and about and congregating here in the park frequently," Catron said. "We've got these beautiful parks, we want people to spend time in the parks, and having the Wi-Fi available will help encourage that."

The city allowed LREC to place certain equipment around town and, in return, LREC hooked up pedestrians and park-goers with the ability to access the internet without having to use cellular data.

LREC CEO Hamid Vahdatipour said with the park being so close to Northeastern State University and it receiving frequent visitors, it will be a heavily used service.

"It was basically us and the city working together to provide this service," he said. "We always hear that it's nice to have these kind of things in the city, and we thought it was a good gesture on our side."

Vahdatipour said LREC hopes to do the same thing for the park in Hulbert, and that this will provide the cooperative with some experience in offering a public Wi-Fi service. The name of the network is "Lake Region Fiber" and can be connected to anywhere in Norris Park.

Glen Clark, LREC director of marketing and member services, said although Lake Region is a cooperative and Tahlequah is a municipality, both entities share a lot of the same interests and goals.

"It's just a community service," said Clark. "Whenever we pulled up, I connected by my phone and was interested to see what our speeds were, and they were well over 100 [Mbps] on the download. So it's going to be big city internet right here."

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