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State Extends Wi-Fi Hot Spot Program in Rural Massachusetts

The state program that has been providing free Wi-Fi hot spot connections to rural communities during the pandemic has been extended to 2021. The program was initially scheduled to end in September.

by Jeanette DeForge, MassLive.com / August 25, 2020
Shutterstock/Grenar

(TNS) — A state program that has provided free wireless hot spots to 26 rural Western Massachusetts communities that lack high-speed Internet has been extended to the end of the year.

The program designed to help people who are working and going to school remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic began in April and was slated to end in September. The program has now been extended through the end of the year, according to officials from Gov. Charlie Baker’s office.

The program is run by the Massachusetts Broadband Institute at MassTech and KCST USA, operator of the state-owned MassBroadband 123 fiber optic network. The hot spots offer 250 megabit per second wireless connections free to towns and residents. The sites were connected with the support of the regional service providers AccessPlus, Crocker Communications, and Westfield Gas and Electric, officials said.

Each site will provide residents with instructions on how to access the hot spots. People using them are urged to follow social distancing guidelines by staying at least six feet from anyone else. More information about the program is available on the MassTech website at https://broadband.masstech.org/wifi.

Officials meanwhile continue to extend permanent high-speed broadband to rural communities. Services have been added to 21 of the 53 communities identified and 11 additional communities should have service by the end of 2020.

©2020 MassLive.com, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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