LOGAN — Those in Hocking County who are in need of internet access for school or work can now access free WiFi at Worthington Park in Downtown Logan.
Hocking County IT Director Mark Stout recently received approval from the Hocking County Commissioners to install a WiFi access point for Worthington Park.
The network name is Hocking County FreeAccess and the password is FreeAccess. Stout plans on keeping this available until the current coronavirus crisis is over.
Stout was able to do this thanks to an offer recently made available by the telecommunications company Charter Communications, which is offering 60 days of free WiFi to households with students, K-12 or college, without internet access.
The WiFi is connected to the internet connection at the Hocking County Courthouse but is separate from its network so the public can use the Worthington WiFi for the internet without connecting to any of the government offices.
Worthington Park was the chosen spot because it is in the middle of Logan and close enough to the courthouse so the connection can be easily monitored.
Getting free WiFi to the park was something Stout had been working on for sometime. Initially, the goal was to have it at Worthington Park for tourists.
“It was something that fell through the cracks and never got completed so this WiFi connection is kind of the starting point of that as well,” Stout said. “Later on down the road, people may be able to stop and get internet there while they are in town.”
Setting it up was not a difficult task according to Stout because the courthouse already had the needed equipment to set everything up.
It may be possible to get free WiFi access to other green spaces throughout the county but Stout worries that it would take too long to do and may not be necessary by the time it would be completed.
For households with students in need of internet access that would like to take advantage of Charter Communications’ offer, call 1-844-488-8395.
The company is also partnering with school districts throughout the country to ensure local communities are aware of these tools to help students learn remotely and they will be opening WiFi hotspots across their footprint for public use.
There are other internet companies offering more inclusive WiFi for an extended period of time as well.
For the next 60 days, AT&T is waiving late payment fees, keeping their public WiFi hotspots open for anyone who needs them and will also be offering unlimited internet data and internet access for limited income households at $10 a month through the Access from AT&T program.
Comcast Xfinity is opening its WiFi hotspots across the country and will be available to anyone who needs them for free, including non-subscribers. They are pausing their data plans for 60 days, which will give all customers unlimited data for no additional charge. There will be no late disconnects or late fees for those who contact the company about not being able to pay their bill and their broadband adoption program is free to new customers.
Verizon is not terminating services to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus and are waiving late fees for those impacted by COVID-19.
Sprint is not terminating service if people are unable to pay their bill because of the coronavirus, and are waiving late fees incurred because of economic circumstances related to the pandemic.
And T-Mobile will remove smartphone data caps for all customers while adding more hotspot data.