A large donation from Facebook will provide free public Wi-Fi across Prineville, including at Crook County High School and the Crook County Fairgrounds.
The $225,000 grant to the Prineville Connected Community Project is intended to help thousands of people and businesses with limited internet access throughout the town by building Wi-Fi access points in key areas.
“We are absolutely thrilled and overwhelmed by Facebook’s support of this incredibly impactful project,” said Mayor Jason Beebe. “The Prineville Connected Community Project will improve our residents’ lives by connecting people through the power of technology, as well as helping Prineville small businesses thrive by driving foot traffic to downtown businesses and fairground vendors.
“It will help create spaces to gather and connect, enhancing the city’s open spaces, community gathering areas, downtown parks and walkways. It will also enable parents and family members to watch live video broadcasts of student activities hosted here.
“Thank you, Facebook, for being such an outstanding community partner.”
Strong Wi-Fi downtown will support small businesses, as well as visitors and programs at the Crook County Library.
“Library patrons will greatly benefit from the increased outside coverage,” said April Witteveen, Director of Library Services. “Our expanded network will enable unserved or underserved members of the public to access the internet beyond the library hours, facilitating job searches, education, public services access and more.”
Improved internet services at Crook County High School will allow parents and family members to watch events like student sports, graduation, and school assemblies through live video broadcasts.
Wi-Fi speeds at the Crook County Fairgrounds will increase from 10 MB to 1 GB, which will help vendors with credit card transactions via cellphone, and assist in emergencies when St. Charles hospital uses the space for overflow.
“We are excited to partner with Prineville Downtown Association, Prineville Crook County Chamber of Commerce, Crook County and Crook County School District on this important project,” said William Marks, Facebook Community Development Regional Manager. “We’ve been a proud community partner since announcing the Facebook Prineville Data Center in 2010, and we’re happy to continue deepening our local support.
“We really love this project, as it has such widespread community impact, from students to small businesses.”
The grant will cover two years of internet service, and will be continued by the Prineville Downtown Association and Crook County School District after that.
The Prineville Downtown Association will manage the implementation of the project, and PrineTIME Internet Solutions will be the primary internet provider.
“The continued commitment by Facebook to the community of Prineville embodies what a good corporate and community partnership should look like,” said Rep. Vikki Breese-Iverson. “Crook County has always been a ‘get ’er done’ community, and it sure seems like Facebook shares our values.”
“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our community,” said Crook County Court Judge Seth Crawford, “Adding the Wi-Fi to our downtown core and surrounding areas will help support the people and businesses that keep our community running. Thank you, Facebook, for once again stepping up for our community and small businesses.”
The Wi-Fi installation process will begin at some point this summer.