On March 4, Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted announced that BroadbandOhio was working with providers to find public Wi-Fi hotspot locations for Ohioans who may not otherwise have access to the internet from home during the coronavirus (COVID-19) state of emergency.
A list of hotspot finders and locations by provider is now available at innovateohio.gov. Those without internet access are urged to visit a known hotspot to access the complete list.
"Some of these hotspots offer parking lot availability so you can go there, download work emails, or school lesson plans, and then have it on your device when you return home," Lt. Governor Husted said.
Additionally, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has started the Keep Americans Connected Initiative to ensure that Americans have reliable access to the online and phone resources they need to be able to stay at home. More than 650 companies have signed the pledge to date. This means that for 60 days, these companies pledge to not terminate residential or small business services due to non-payment, to waive late fees, and to open Wi-Fi hotspots to anyone who needs them.
In addition to signing the pledge, many telecom companies have adopted temporary COVID-19 policies and are offering free or reduced services and increased data usage limits during the state of emergency.
For the most up-to-date information on these policies, visit the following provider websites:
- Charter Communications (Spectrum): Free Spectrum Internet and Wi-Fi for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students and educators
- CenturyLink: Suspended data usage limits, offering increased broadband speeds
- Cincinnati Bell: Providing free speed upgrades
- AT&T: Two months of free service, and waiving data usage overage fees
- Verizon: Automatically adding hotspot data for customers
- Consolidated Communications: Two months of free home internet to low-income families
- Windstream Ohio, Inc./Kinetic: Discounts to any new Kinetic Internet customer who is qualified for Lifeline benefits