This information is in addition to the earlier post of local Internet hotspots.
While Education Super Highway recently reported that the classroom connectivity gap was "now closed," with 99 percent of schools on fiber, that didn't take into account that school would move home in a time of coronavirus. The latest reporting by the Federal Communications Commission, found that the number of people lacking a connection of at least 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload was 21.3 million in the United States at the end of 2017. Some 4.3 million were in rural America or tribal lands. According to Common Sense Media, that translated to almost 12 million children nationwide in homes without a broadband connection.
How school districts are getting education delivered to those students varies from location to location. To help your schools reach students who may lack broadband connectivity, here's a list of wireless networking options they may be able to take advantage of. We've listed those that are available in more than just a handful of states first.
We developed the compilation by starting with a list of telecommunications companies that have signed the Federal Communications Commission's "Keep Americans Connected" pledge. Editors culled through the list specifically seeking information online about those companies that provided free service to students in their coverage areas and/or free public WiFi hotspots that students could access for some portion of each day while sitting in their cars or otherwise being physically isolated from others in the vicinity.
We will continue updating this list as information becomes available. If you know of other services not included on the list, please send details with a link to email@example.com.
C Spire (national coverage): Offering free wireless data to K-12 students for educational purposes. Piloting complimentary WiFi for students in select parking areas. https://www.cspire.com/cms/wireless/cspire-cares-covid-19-relief/
Cable One (AL, AR, AZ, IA, ID, KS, MO, MS, NE, ND, NM, OK, TN, TX): Providing free WiFi hotspots in the service area. http://one2one.sparklight.com/sparklight-extends-unlimited-data-on-internet-plans-through-may-12-2020/
Charter Communications/Spectrum (41 states): Offering free broadband and WiFi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students. Providing free WiFi hotspots in the service area. https://corporate.charter.com/newsroom/charter-to-offer-free-access-to-spectrum-broadband-and-wifi-for-60-days-for-new-K12-and-college-student-households-and-more
Comcast (national coverage)
Offering broadband service for free for 60 days to new Internet Essentials customers. https://corporate.comcast.com/covid-19
Consolidated Communications (23 states): Offering two free months of broadband to K-12 students who don't currently have internet. https://www.consolidated.com/support/alerts/coronavirus-updates
Cox Communications (19 states): Offering free internet for qualified new customers through July 15, 2020. Sign-up deadline is May 15. https://www.cox.com/residential/internet/connect2compete/covid-19-response.html
Google Fiber (AL, CA, CO, FL, GA, IL, MO, NC, TN, TX, WA, UT): Providing free WiFi hotspots in the service area. https://support.google.com/fiber/answer/9788639
OTELCO (AL, MA, ME, MO, NH, VT, WV): Providing 60 days of free internet access for eligible new customers. https://services.otelco.com/en/free-student-internet-covid-19
Vyve Broadband (national coverage): Providing free WiFi hotspots in the service area. https://www.vyvebroadband.com/free-wifi/?fbclid=IwAR3pXaAXmdtjUTZL4mGNBY9Wq1Nj8VNxFnjIHt8R_PFS0C4F_5tPO4wgQv4
Farmers Telecommunications Cooperative (AL): Providing free WiFi hotspots in the service area. https://farmerstel.com/covid-19/#pledge
Pine Belt Communications (AL):
Providing free WiFi hotspots in the service area. https://www.pinebelt.net/, https://www.facebook.com/pinebelt/photos/a.262503363795549/3021548524557672/?type=3&theater