Public Access during COVID-19

With public schools and universities around the country closing to prevent spread of COVID-19, libraries across Georgia are working hard to ensure continued internet access during this time of heightened need. In an effort to comply with social distancing measures libraries are finding unique ways to provide this access while prioritizing public safety.

This page will act as a collection of resources to support those efforts. We will add to it as we hear more from our libraries.

What can you do now?

  • Work with your ISP to provide a temporary bandwidth increase to your libraries

  • Increase power to or migrate wireless access points to the outside walls/windows of your building (near parking lots) to allow users easy access from their cars

  • Consider keeping your wireless on and accessible from your parking lot 24/7

  • Check in with your local police department to improve public safety, especially if your internet is accessible overnight

  • Post wireless information outside of the building, consider opening up your network or providing a guest network with no password

  • Provide checkout of laptops and tablets, include wireless hotspots if available

Ways to expand access

  • Tech Soup and Mobilebeacon provide hotspots for ~$120 a year with unlimited data plans

  • Work with your local school system to open their wi-fi and extend access beyond their campus and beyond your library using long range wireless or hotspots around the community - especially in places that allow the community to stay in cars or maintain social distance

  • Comcast's Internet Essentials - Complimentary 'Internet Essentials' package free for low-income customers for 60 days with no contract (normally $9.95 a month). Speeds are up to 25 mbps and the self-install kit includes a modem and router. People can apply at https://www.internetessentials.com/covid19 or call 1-855-846-8376 for English and 1-855-765-6995 for Spanish.

  • Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the country will be available to anyone who needs them for free – including non-Xfinity Internet subscribers. For a map of Xfinity WiFi hotspots, visit www.xfinity.com/wifi. Once at a hotspot, consumers should select the “xfinitywifi” network name in the list of available hotspots and then launch a browser. Read more here.

  • Charter is providing free access to Spectrum broadband and wifi for 60 days for all new K-12 and college student households beginning March 16th, read more here. Charter is also opening their hotspots to anyone who needs them, locate them here.

  • AT&T is pledging to not terminate service due to inability to pay bills due to disruptions from COVID-19 as well as suspending all data usage caps until further notice. AT&T is also opening their hotspots to anyone who needs them.