WiFi hotspots offer free internet

REGION – Community Concepts Finance Corporation (CCFC) and the Northern Forest Center are offering up to four (4) cities, schools, public libraries, or nonprofit organizations in the Maine West area free equipment, installation, and maintenance of public-facing WiFi hotspots.

The pandemic has shed a bright light on the lack of universal internet access across Maine, particularly in rural Maine. As the state and communities work to extend high-speed Internet service to all homes and businesses in Maine, WiFi hotspots represent a short-term solution to provide free public Internet access to those who do not provide free public Internet access. Often located in downtown areas, public parks, libraries, and schools, WiFi hotspots are not designed to replace home or business Internet service. Rather, they aim to provide the public with convenient free internet access for a short time – to fill the gap for people who are otherwise off-duty, to help people save on cellular data, and to make public spaces in general more attractive to young people and adults.

Funded by the Northern Border Regional Commission and USDA Rural Development, the Maine West Community Hotspot program is designed to support a network of community WiFi access points throughout the Maine West region. Applicants should consider a general location that provides easy public access to WiFi service. Further technical details can be worked out as part of the program. However, to be eligible, applicants must:

Located in the Maine West region – Cities in SAD44, SAD17, RSU10 and RSU56; Willing to provide Internet services to the hotspot through direct funding or private sponsorship; and be able to provide proof of general liability insurance.

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If you are interested in expanding public Internet access in your community and meet these criteria, please contact Mia Purcell at [email protected] or 207-418-0179.


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