The federal government is helping Tucson, Arizona get back on its feet as the corovonarivus pandemic continues to weigh heavy on the United States. City council voted to extend its existing Wi-Fi network in order to cover 53,000 more households encompassing some 116,000 citizens in total.
Tucson Chief Information Officer Collin Boyce revealed the initiative is happening thanks to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Congress originally passed in April before extending it earlier this month.
All of the necessary hardware for additional coverage will be added to existing infrastructure, which is about as frugal as Internet deployment gets in this day and age. In other words, the city will make use of traffic lights, poles, and any other street furniture that isn't already leveraged as network equipment real estate, so to speak.
As deliberate as the plan is, the undertaking will still cost approximately $9 million, Tucson officials estimate. While speaking to local news station KGUN 9, Boyce was quite straightforward in stating the Wi-Fi expansion project likely would not have happened without CARES funds.
Wider Wi-Fi coverage is just the beginning
The federal government at the very least ensured the initiative goes beyond merely providing added Wi-Fi coverage. More specifically, the plan also has a second stage, which involves implementing a smart traffic control system into Tucson's existing traffic signage network. Doing so would improve the flow of east-to-west traffic on most - if not all - of the city's most congested roads.
Tucson officials believe now is as good of a time as any to upgrade the city's traffic signalization as less congested roads could quite literally save lives. Councilman Steve Kozachik said the project is "absolutely" relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic, citing that precise train of thought as his reasoning.
Network equipment deployment already began earlier this month and is scheduled to be fully completed come December. All things considered, Tucson has things under control, especially relative to how much rural America continues to struggle in order to support the very fundamentals of this new stay-at-home reality.