Clickability tracking pixel

Illinois City Purchases Wi-Fi Hot Spots for Students

The city of Springfield, Ill., on Monday gave 1,000 newly purchased Verizon Jetpacks — which are mobile Internet hot spots — to District 186 for students who need Internet access at home amid the pandemic.

by Bernard Schoenburg, The State Journal-Register / April 14, 2020

(TNS) — The city of Springfield, Ill., Monday gave 1,000 newly purchased Verizon Jetpacks — mobile hotspots — to District 186 for students who need internet access at home.

Families in the district already have filled out technology access surveys, said district spokeswoman Bree Hankins.

"We'll be communicating directly with the families that are eligible to get them," she said.

Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder said money for the purchase came from Community Development Block Grant funds the city received from the federal government due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

"It's a way to get them into the hands of students, so hopefully 100 percent of the students have ... access to online learning," Langfelder said of the devices.

Tom Chi, telecommunications manager and acting chief innovation officer for the city, said the devices cost the city about $49 each — so the outlay is about $49,000. He also said that with the coronavirus outbreak and so many people across the country working and studying at home, demand for the devices is high. He said Verizon helped connect the city to Connected Solutions Group, Mechanicsville, Va., and the business was able to provide the Jetpacks.

Each JetPack, Chi said, can provide wireless connections for up to 15 devices in a home. He said they are about the size of a credit card and about a half-inch thick. They come with chargers and cables. Chi and other city workers activated the devices to get them ready for use.

Langfelder said because the block grant funds were used for the purchase, they are supposed to benefit city of Springfield residents. Thus, he said, the school district will pay the city for those devices that go to students who are in District 186 but don't live in the city.

©2020 The State Journal-Register, Springfield, Ill. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Looking for the latest gov tech news as it happens? Subscribe to GT newsletters.

E.REPUBLIC Platforms & Programs