The City of Clermont’s free public Wi-Fi is now live in limited locations in Clermont’s Waterfront District.
No password is required to log into the “Clermont-Public” network. You can access it from the newly resurfaced Champions Splash Park (which reopens March 15 for Spring Break), Waterfront Park, the Clermont Boat House, the Clermont Boat Ramp and the Highlander Pavilion, as well as the northern part of Victory Pointe.
“The city of Clermont’s award-winning Master Plan continues to move Clermont forward,” City Manager Darren Gray said. “Offering free Wi-Fi in the Downtown-Waterfront area and along the trail will enhance our residents’ and visitors’ experiences while giving event organizers yet another reason to choose Clermont as their preferred location.”
By the end of 2020, free public Wi-Fi should be available in Clermont’s entire Downtown-Waterfront District. That includes 2.5 miles of South Lake Trail along Lake Minneola, as well as in Clermont’s Central Business District, from Osceola Street in the north to Desoto Street in the south and from Lake Avenue in the east to West Avenue in the west.
“Public Wi-Fi is a Smart City tool that many cities across the country are implementing to leverage economic and social benefits,” City of Clermont Economic Development Director Shannon Schmidt said. “It can empower residents and visitors in finding city services, way-finding, learning more about community events and safety. It encourages more people to come downtown and encourages the location of new restaurants, offices and shops.”
Plus, the city can collect users’ zip codes during login to gain insight into where visitors are from, how long they are staying and what areas of the downtown they are visiting more frequently.
“The data becomes an important tool for business owners and the city alike,” Schmidt said.
An option to add your email address also allows the city to follow up with helpful news and information.
It all started with resident requests for Wi-Fi at Waterfront Park, one of the city’s most popular parks, and its neighboring Champions Splash Park.
And now, it’s becoming a reality as part of the Master Plan with the Clermont’s City Council approval.
In 2013, the City of Clermont started pulling fiber through the network of empty conduit, which had previously been installed while the ground was open for a water project, with the foresight of City of Clermont IT Director Don Dennis.
Naples-based vTECH io was awarded the contract in November 2018 for buildout and installation of the Wi-Fi, utilizing the fiber network. Now, Wi-Fi access points are being mounted to existing street lamps and buildings.
“Because we already have fiber on a significant portion of the area, it’s easy to add Wi-Fi there,” Dennis said. However, more fiber needs to be added to cover the complete planned area, extending west past Lake Hiawatha Preserve and east to the City of Minneola’s limits.
The city is looking to recoup some of the project’s costs by charging for high-bandwidth Wi-Fi access for those who need guaranteed bandwidth, such as large events wanting to stream live videos of race results. The city also could explore sponsors/subscriptions. Gray has asked for state funding for the project.
“It adds one more thing to make Clermont an appealing place to be,” Dennis said. “As people become more dependent on technology, the public is coming to expect it.”
The City of Clermont also has been offering free Wi-Fi inside all city facilities since 2017. Log in through “ClermontGuest” with the password “Clermont”.