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Richland Library, Housing Authority bring wi-fi to Columbia communities

65 mobile hot spots to be distributed in 26 residential communities in the county through July 2021

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Richland Library and Columbia's Housing Authority (CHA) have teamed up to distribute mobile wi-fi hot spots in residential communities in the city to help students with virtual learning.

The joint effort, called the Home-Spot initiative, supplied 65 mobile wi-fi hot spots to all 26 Housing Authority communities in Richland County. 

"It means connecting our families to a much needed resource," says Yvonda Bean, Chief Operating Officer at CHA.

The Housing Authority says all of their over 1,600 residents now have access to internet.

"The wi-fi hot spots are actually assigned to different households within each community. The number that's actually assigned to that particular community is contingent upon the number of buildings within that area and also the ranges in which the wi-fi hot spots reach," Bean says. "One community may have two mobile hot spots. Another community may have four mobile hot spots. But all of our communities now have access to free internet service through the Home-Spot program."

The library has a one-year service agreement with T-Mobile for the hot spots that runs through July 2021. At the end of the contract year, the library will re-evaluate their progress and extend the agreement if needed as well as look into other options.

After linking to the wireless networks, local residents have the ability to learn and complete schoolwork, contact loved ones remotely, and utilize basic services that have moved to digital platforms.

The Home-Spot initiative is made possible, thanks to funding from the McNulty Foundation and the Richland Library Friends and Foundation.

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