Internet access is essential for virtual learning in our current Covid-19 learning environment. While some methods are more reliable than others, here are different ways to get access to the Internet if you are currently not connected at home. Please keep in mind that this information is constantly evolving and can change rapidly and AVSD is not responsible for changes made by unaffiliated third party companies.
Comcast Internet Essentials Program
|Comcast is one of the major Internet Service Providers (ISP) in our community. Their Internet Essentials program provides heavily discounted home WiFi at speeds of 25 Mbps for qualifying families. Comcast will provide support and technical assistance for getting and staying connected.
Interested families can apply by visiting https://www.internetessentials.com/.
Comcast Open Public Hotspots
|Throughout the AVSD community, Comcast has equipment set up to provide its customers with Public Wifi access by placing equipment in strategic places such as on telephone poles. Previously customers would need a Comcast account to connect to these hotspots. However, during the Covid-19 pandemic, Comcast has opened these hotspots up for anyone to be able to access them without a Comcast account. Currently, all Comcast "outdoor" hotspots are open to access but indoor ones are not. There are several outdoor hotspots along Pittsburgh street. You can find hotspots using this map: https://hotspots.wifi.xfinity.com/ (outdoor spots are denoted with a tree next to their address).
Instructions for connecting can be found here: https://www.xfinity.com/support/articles/open-xfinity-wifi-hotspots
USAC Lifeline Program
USAC (a funding branch of the FCC) offers a program called Lifeline which provides discounts to qualified families on their home Internet service. Lifeline provides a monthly discount on service for eligible low-income subscribers. Subscribers may receive a Lifeline discount on either a wireline or a wireless service, but they may not receive a discount on both services at the same time. Lifeline also supports broadband Internet service and broadband-voice bundles. To find out more about this program, visit https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/lifeline-support-affordable-communications
T-Mobile's Project 10 Million
Turning Your Phone Into a Hotspot
Many smartphones can be turned into a "hotspot" for use by other devices. Depending on your provider and plan, this may be either free or for a small additional charge to your service. If you are unsure about your plan, contact your provider for details. This can be a viable option for many families who have an "unlimited" monthly data plan but do not have a dedicated wired connection at home.
If you know this is available through your provider, this article from PCMagazine can help you turn your phone into a hotspot.