Company Wants to Create WiFi Network in Yellowstone National Park
The National Park Service wants to know what the public thinks about a proposal to install wireless internet networks throughout Yellowstone National Park's developed areas.
The application for a right-of-way permit, submitted by AccessParks, is open for public comment until Nov. 29.
"The proposed installations would provide internet service to park visitors and employees in hotels and housing in developed areas. Consistent with the Yellowstone National Park Wireless Communication Services Plan, wireless access to recommended wilderness and park road corridors would be excluded," the park said in a news release Thursday.
The WiFi system would cover Canyon Village, Grant Village, Lake, Mammoth Hot Springs and Old Faithful.
"Equipment needs for this project include five microwave antenna locations, twelve wireless blackhaul antennas ranging between three and six feet in diameter, and up to four hundred and eighty (480) transceivers of 11-inch diameter or less installed on receiving structures," the park said.
Equipment would also be placed on the new antenna mounting structure surrounding the Mount Washburn Fire Lookout.
WiFi coverage could eventually extend to other developed areas such as Norris, Madison and Bechler for the use of park administration and employees.
Buildings that would be impacted by the proposal have been evaluated for eligibility based on their status under the National Register of Historic Places. Consultation with the Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office is ongoing.
Identified as eligible are 413 buildings, while 71 buildings have been deemed ineligible due to age or other factors.
"In an effort to reduce or eliminate impacts to the historic fabric of Historic Properties, AccessParks' proposed infrastructure will take the historic nature of properties that they will be installed on into account," the park said. "On historic properties, AccessParks will use existing penetrations into buildings, and will disguise the new installations either through locating them inside of attic spaces or place them on roof areas that are outside of the casual viewshed."
The team at AccessParks previously developed the first broadband WiFi service covering hundreds of military bases across the globe.
"We soon discovered our team shared a love of the outdoors, but that we couldn't stay in national parks or most RV parks for more than a few days due to lack of quality internet," the company says on its website. "The solution we built for the most remote regions on earth for the military were a perfect fit for remote lodging and housing. Now, with AccessParks, we see a future where exploring the outdoors doesn't have a time limit, and we can connect from anywhere, reliably."
"We believe that by addressing the need for predictable, quality internet... we are helping more people experience the outdoors we love, for longer periods of time, and with the untethered freedom of exploring confidently," AccessParks says. "The outdoors should be a part of everyone's life, especially younger generations. When parents can keep up with work for an hour in the evening, the kids benefit from longer stays."
Public comments can be submitted online, by hand-delivery or by mail. Comments will not be accepted by fax, email or any other means.
During business hours, comments can be hand-delivered to Albright Visitor Center, Attention: Acess Parks Broadband Proposal, Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 82190.
Comments can be mailed to Compliance Office, Attention: Access Parks Broadband Proposal, PO Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 82190.