Internet services providing free wifi for students in response to school closures

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Sam Underwood

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Amy Pachla, Copy Chief

Internet service providers are reacting to the closures of schools and colleges across the country by offering temporary free internet access to students and their households. CSU Bakersfield Internet Technology Services sent a campus email on March 14 letting students know about the offer. 

  Starting Monday, March 16, both Comcast and Spectrum (formerly Charter) are extending free installation and 60 days of service to any home with a furloughed student. The offer applies only to households that don’t already receive services.  

  Spectrum, which is the main broadband provider in Bakersfield, is offering households with students two months of basic internet service at speeds up to 100 megabytes per second. They are also making all Charter Wi-Fi hotspots publicly accessible for those two months. Previously, a person needed to be a Spectrum/Charter customer with a password to access these hotspots. 

  Comcast is offering a similar package, with speeds of 25 Mbps download/3 Mbps upload. The speeds offered by both companies are high enough for streaming video, uploading assignments, participating in livestreams, and using email. 

  Responding to a request for student opinions on Facebook, community member Christina Patz said she won’t need to sign up herself, but she’s been sharing the information with the students she knows. Patz thinks it’s a good idea so long as it’s free, especially with public internet options like county libraries temporarily closing their doors. 

  “Just make sure you cancel before you get charged,” Patz advises. 

  Denisse Mendoza, another CSUB student responding to the student opinion post, has to make the drive from home to CSUB every day in order to attend her lectures that are via Zoom. 

  “I live on a small ranch in between Bakersfield and Shafter, and we’ve never been able to get WiFi out here because no company is ever available in my area. And with Starbucks closing their lobbies, I’ll have to still end up going to CSUB to be able to do my assignments for the rest of the semester,” Mendoza wrote. 

  For more information about the offers, assistance in choosing the right one for your household, or with any other questions about connecting to university systems during this time, contact CSUB ITS at 654-4357 or by emailing [email protected]