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Free Wi-Fi comes to five Chicago beaches

Updated: July 19, 2013 3:42PM

Break out the smart phones and tablets for beach days – free Wi-Fi access at five Chicago beaches started Friday.

The free internet connection is available at North Avenue, Osterman/Hollywood, Montrose, Foster and Rainbow beaches.

Wi-Fi users may need to station themselves close to nearby concession areas and apartment and condo buildings to get the best connection, said Chicago Park District spokeswoman Michele Lemons. The connection has a maximum reach of 1,000 feet from beach houses and concession stands.

The Wi-Fi originates from buildings that already had a wireless infrastructure, one of the requirements for the pilot program. The pilot program will run through October.

If the summer-long program is successful, the park district will consider expanding to other beaches.

This project is being funded by the park district and tech companies Everywhere Wireless and Cisco.

Everywhere Wireless and Cisco invested about $70,000. And while there was no additional cost to the park district, it provided access to power, existing infrastructure and work performed by park district electricians.

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