Bellflower Connect FAQs
What is Bellflower Connect?
Bellflower Connect is low or no cost option providing digital connection to residents, businesses and visitors in Bellflower. The program provides voluntary wireless (wi-fi) internet connection in many public spaces throughout the City an option for in home connection, should residents choose to participate.
While discussions about how the City might be able to help bridge the digital divide and provide wi-fi access to those who may not otherwise have it began in 2017, the City released a request for proposals (RFP) for a Wireless Network Implementation Plan in 2019 and selected a contractor to assist in the implementation in 2021. The City is working with Tradewinds Networks (formerly the city worked with ICCN) to install the network at no cost to the City.
Why is the City Building Bellflower Connect? How is it Different From Existing Services?
Bellflower Connect makes wireless internet connection available throughout the City to those who choose to connect to it, including in public spaces where existing high-speed connection may not be currently available or may be cost prohibitive. Bellflower connect is simply an additional option available to residents who may desire or need to use it. High speed internet access has become an essential aspect of modern life. Bellflower Connect helps to support small business growth and provide an additional option for residents, businesses, students and visitors to stay connected. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted significant gaps in availability of high speed internet access and the extent to which residents and businesses rely on that access. Bellflower Connect helps to ensure that access available to those who need it and provides an additional option over and above traditional wireless carriers that may not offer similar services in city wide.
How is Bellflower Connect Funded?
The infrastructure necessary to make Bellflower Connect available citywide in public spaces is being installed by the City’s partner, Tradewinds Networks at no costs to the City of Bellflower. That infrastructure includes wireless connection points at various locations throughout the City, similar to those provided by other broadband networks, to ensure that the service provides adequate coverage throughout the City. The City’s partner in Bellflower Connect, Tradewinds Networks, may collect revenues based on advertising, but there is no cost to those who choose to connect to the network.
In 2021, through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the City of Bellflower was awarded approximately $21.5 million in funding to respond to the impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic and invest in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure. In 2021, the City Council developed and adopted a plan to allocate this funding. The plan included significant investments in water system improvements, offset of revenue losses and expenses related to the pandemic, various small business development programs, and City software improvements, as well as $1 million to provide approximately 10,000 qualifying low-income households (singles, families, and seniors on fixed income) in Bellflower who choose to connect to it with a low or no cost option for high-speed broadband internet. Both the publicly available wi-fi connection and the in-home service are entirely optional, and available to those who choose to connect to it.
How has Bellflower Connect Been Used So Far?
In June 2023, the Southeast Los Angeles County Workforce Investment Board held a regional job fair at Simms Park in Bellflower, at which free internet access was provided to the participants of the fair. Additionally, Bellflower Connect was on hand as a future employer in the community. It is anticipated that five to ten positions will be available for area residents as maintenance and troubleshooting technicians for Bellflower Connect.
Is Bellflower Connect Mandatory/Will I be Automatically Connected?
No, connection to the network is entirely optional and requires the end user to connect to the service like many other available wi-fi networks. Bellflower Connect simply provides a publicly available option for those who choose to connect to it.
How is My Data Secured Through Bellflower Connect?
The Bellflower Connect program is not intended to track data from users of the service. However, just as with any other public wi-fi solution, if a device connects to the network the MAC address and IP address are used as basic connection data for network management purposes. There are no advanced tracking mechanisms or analytics that are stored. As an additional security measure, when connecting to any public wi-fi system, users can use secure and encrypted connections (such as HTTPS) or a VPN (Virtual Private Network) when accessing the network if they so desire.
Are There Limitations to Bellflower Connect?
Bellflower Connect operates as any other wireless network. There may be limitations to speed or connectivity from time to time. There are no limitations on the activities or use of the services or on those who connect a device to the service.
ADDITIONAL FAQ's BELOW
What is Bellflower Connect and where will it available?
Who is providing this service?
How much will Bellflower Connect cost?
How can I get connected?
What download and upload speeds can I expect with Bellflower Connect?
Will Bellflower Connect have data caps, throttling, or streaming limits?
How is Bellflower Connect different from other internet services?
Will service be available to small businesses in my area?
Will Bellflower Connect provide assistance?
Will bad weather affect my service?
How secure will the network be?
Will Bellflower Connect sell my information?
What devices will I need to use this service?
Will I be able to stay connected 24 hours a day, 7 days week?
Will my search history be stored on the network?
How many users will the network securely protect? Will there be a cap on the maximum number of users?
Will the internet company provide routine maintenance on its network security?
Will the Internet Service Provider (ISP) contract be readily available for users to review? If so, is the ISP contract negotiable?
What is the City of Bellflower's In-Home Broadband Access Program?
How can I qualify for this program?
How do I sign up for this program?
Where does the money for this program come from?
What kind of modem and equipment would I get as part of this program?
If I move, will I be able to take the modem with me?
How will the modem be installed?
What download and upload speeds can I expect with my modem?
Will the modems have data caps, throttling, or streaming limits?
Where will I be able to find help with my modem?
What can I do with the equipment if I decide not to use it anymore?
Will there be a cost to cancel or return the equipment?
How will I be able to reboot my equipment?
Will there be any upgrade options available?
Will I need to disconnect my current Wi-Fi internet service before this service is set up?
Will this program be available to people who live in an apartment, condominium, mobile home or townhome?
Will my in-home unit be password protected? Will I be able to change the password?