Free Community Wi-Fi Hot-Spots
The FCC has asked the nation’s telecommunications companies to take the https://www.fcc.gov/keep-americans-connected, which includes a commitment that vendors make their community Wi-Fi Hotspots open and free to all. These are the ones I could find; please let me know if there are others, particularly small PA providers:
• Comcast/Xfinity - https://hotspots.wifi.xfinity.com/
• PenTeleData/Service Electric - http://www.ptdunleashed.com/
• Zito Media - https://www.zitomedia.net/wifi/
• Frontier - http://www.frontierwifi.com/coverageareafrontier.aspx
• Charter Spectrum - https://www.spectrum.com/wifi-hotspots
• Lackawanna County Free Wi-Fi - https://www.lackawannacounty.org/index.php/wireless
• Atlantic Broadband - https://atlanticbb.com/my-services/my-account/wifi-hotspots
National Free Wi-Fi Map
https://www.wifimap.io/. Many of these locations are restaurants that are now closed, but their parking lots may continue to have active service.
Library Parking Lot Wi-Fi
The American Library Association has asked every library in the country to keep their Wi-Fi open during the shutdown so patrons can access it from their parking lots. I know of at least one PA library that is allowing/encouraging the community to use their free Wi-Fi in the library parking lot, in the safety of their cars (see wonderful picture at http://e-ratepa.org/?page_id=32310). As long as the Internet doesn’t extend beyond the school or library’s property boundary, I don’t think there are any E-rate rules that would prohibit it. In fact, it’s a fantastic idea. If you know of any schools or libraries that are making their Wi-Fi available to the public from their parking lots, please let me know (and share a picture if you can).
Low-Cost Home Internet
Several companies have low-cost, home-based Internet for low-income households.
• Comcast/Xfinity – Comcast will offer new residential, low-income customers its $9.95-per-month Internet Essentials program free for 60 days. The company is also boosting the internet service speeds in this program from 15/2 Mbps to 25/3 Mbps, which qualifies the service as high-speed broadband under FCC guidelines. Comcast will also suspend data caps for 60 days. https://internetessentials.com/
• Zito Media - Zito Media will provide its 20 Mbps Internet Service free of charge for two months to low income residents.
• AT&T – AT&T’s Access program provides $10/month home-based Internet to limited income households. Also offering two months of free service to new Access customers who order by April 30, 2020 ($10/mo thereafter) and waiving all home internet data overage fees. https://digitalyou.att.com/low-cost-internet/
• Charter Spectrum (formerly Time Warner Cable) - Charter will offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription at any service level up to 100 Mbps. To enroll call 1-844-488-8395. Installation fees will be waived for new student households.
• CenturyLink: CenturyLink is suspending data usage limits for consumer customers during this time period due to COVID-19.
Federal Lifeline Program
Lifeline is one of the four federal Universal Service programs (E-rate is also one) that lowers the monthly cost of phone or internet for low-income households. Eligible customers can receive up to $9.25 toward their bill. https://www.lifelinesupport.org/.