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Library Drive-In WiFi Hotspot Available for Free Internet Use

 

May 21, 2020

In response to the impacts of COVID-19, new Drive-In WiFi Hotspots provide free temporary, emergency internet access for Washingtonians who do not have broadband service to their homes.

Garfield County has been selected as one of an initial fifteen locations in Washington to participate in the project. It provides wireless internet access to the parking lots both in front and behind the Denny Ashby Library. The emphasis is on student access, said Lillian Heytvelt, library director, but WiFi is available to all residents who need it for such reasons as job searches, telehealth, telework, unemployment filing, census participation and other uses. The site is located at 856 Arlington Street. This WiFi hotspot is supported locally by the Denny Ashby Library and WSU Extension.

Anticipated WiFi coverage area is 1000-2000 feet diameter around each access point. When you log on you will be asked to identify your uses such as education, telehealth, job search or government services. This information will help determine the important reasons we need to increase broadband availability to homes and businesses in our area.

This project was launched in collaboration with Washington State University Extension, the Washington State Library, part of the Washington Office of the Secretary of State, and the Washington State Broadband Office. Equipment for the first 15 sites was generously donated by Microsoft. Counties participating in this first phase of this project include Asotin, Clallam, Ferry, Garfield, Grant, Grays Harbor, Island, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Pierce, Skamania, Stevens, Wahkiakum, and Yakima.

"We are delighted to offer this free internet access in our community. COVID-19 has shown a light on how critical broadband is for our economy, educational needs and quality of life for all our residents, said Mark Heitstuman, WSU Garfield County Extension Director.

A State Drive-In WiFi Hotspot locations map created in collaboration with the OCIO (Office of the Chief Information Officer) and WaTech will be available at http://www.driveinwifi.wa.gov. This map will be continually updated as new sites are offered across the state.

Though this project does not expand networks to homes or businesses, it does offer an immediate source for internet in regional locations for citizens, students, and workers during the COVID-19 emergency. The project partners and supporters are committed to continuing work beyond this crisis to ensure all in Washington have access to affordable, reliable, redundant and broadband and the skills to successfully use it.

For questions or more information about this statewide effort, visit driveinwifi.wa.gov or contact:

Monica Babine, Washington State University Extension at [email protected], (206) 999-8032; Russ Elliott, Washington State Broadband Office at [email protected], (360) 725-4052; or Cindy Aden, Washington State Library, at [email protected], (360) 819-7236.

 
 

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