In response to the impacts of COVID-19 and distance learning, a new Drive-In Wi-Fi Hotspot is available to provide free temporary, emergency internet access for people who do not have broadband service to their homes. There is a specific emphasis on student access, but this is available to all residents for job searches, telehealth, telework, unemployment filing, census participation and other uses.
The area of North Grays Harbor County was identified as an area that has internet connectivity challenges. County Commissioner Vickie Raines reached out to Dan Teuteberg, WSU Extension Grays Harbor County Director, and asked if this area could benefit from a Drive-in Wi-Fi hotspot. After considering criteria such as connectivity speeds, parking facilities, cell service coverage, and partnerships, a location was selected.
Dan Teuteberg connected with local resident and business owner, Dave Crosby, to see if he was willing to host a Wi-Fi hotspot at his business The Red Rooster. This location was an ideal spot because of parking, existing internet, and central location. Dave was immediately supportive and excited to partner with WSU Extension Grays Harbor County.
Dave, being so community-minded, is now hosting the Wi-Fi location which covers 1,000-2,000 feet of the parking lot. This location will include network security protocols and promote Governor Jay Inslee’s social distancing requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic. You are asked to respect the property of those who have offered its availability.
Dave had a simple request prior to agreeing to host the site; he wanted to share and seek support for the Green Lantern Lunch program. He is passionate for supporting local families and sees the Green Lantern Lunch program as a great local program helping families in need. This program was shared with WSU faculty and staff to see what support and options are out there.
If you are in need of internet access in the Humptulips area, please take advantage of this service. The Red Rooster is located at 2803 US-101, Hoquiam, WA 98550. To log on, look for the Wi-Fi network called WSU Guest or the Drive-In Wi-Fi. Both of these networks will prompt a short registration process that helps gather information on the use of this service. You will be asked to identify your uses such as education, telehealth, job search or government services. This information will help determine the important reasons we need to increase broadband availability to homes and businesses in our state.
This project was launched in collaboration with WSU Extension, the Washington State Library, a division of the Secretary of State, and the Washington State Broadband Office but has grown to include over a dozen partners and financial support from Microsoft, Avista Foundation and Washington State. Other partners include the Washington State Office of the CIO, NoaNet, Information Technology Disaster Resource Center, telecommunications providers, Public Utility Districts, Ports, community and technical colleges, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction as well as local schools and libraries.
For information about the Green Lantern Lunch Program and how you can support it, please go to their website www.greenlanternlunches.org.
For questions or more information about this effort, visit www.driveinwifi.wa.gov