Las Vegas Sun

September 19, 2018

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Nevada aiming to blaze trail for wireless internet service at state parks

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L.E. Baskow

Balanced Rock is a prominent feature within the Valley of Fire State Park on Saturday, February 1, 2014.

Nevada's goal of becoming the first state to connect visitors to Wi-Fi coverage at all state parks is coming into focus.

As laid out in Gov. Brian Sandoval’s Explore Your Nevada plan last year, adding new park locations and high-speed internet access at parks and campsites statewide were labeled areas of importance.

“We’re proud to be the first U.S. state to announce our commitment to put Wi-Fi in all of our state parks,” said Eric Johnson, administrator for Nevada State Parks, in a statement. “Our long-term goal is to ensure the millions of park guests that visit our locations each year have access to the same consistent high-speed, high-quality connectivity Wi-Fi service — park-to-park — providing a true value when visiting parks across our state.”

The state will carry out the plan by partnering with Viasat, a communications company specializing in outdoor connectivity networks nationwide.

The Nevada State Parks system will utilize Viasat’s advanced ViaSat-1 and ViaSat-2 satellite systems, coupled with its Wi-Fi services platform, to deliver a large-scale hotspot solution to Nevada.

For the project, Viasat connected with Wi-Fi in the Park, a Nevada-based telecom consultancy, to help develop the connectivity strategy across the parks, which include focusing first on the most visited parks.

“Viasat has deep knowledge and experience in building, operating and monitoring complex Wi-Fi networks in the hardest-to-reach locations, most extreme weather conditions and in places where uptime is critical,” said Cody Catalena, vice president and general manager of Global Business Solutions at Viasat, in a statement. “We are well-positioned as a broadband and managed Wi-Fi provider to support the state of Nevada in its quest to bring high-speed internet to its diverse set of park locations.”