Springfield, Missouri Becomes More Accessible to Wi-Fi Thanks to These Organizations


SPRINGFIELD, Missouri – Kathleen O’Dell of the Springfield-Greene County Library District remembers reading a statistic about a year ago.

“[It said] up to 30 percent of the people who live in Greene County do not have Internet connectivity, ”O’Dell said.

But, thanks to three Springfield organizations, a community need will be met in the Ozarks. The Springfield-Greene County Library District received a federal grant to purchase Wi-Fi hotspots.

Additionally, UScellular has donated numerous hotspots to the Boys and Girls Clubs (BGCS) of Springfield.

UScellular donated 175 hotspots, which Club members can use for two years. Retail store manager David King says it is a donation worth over $ 200,000. In addition, the mobile network has partnered with Boys and Girls clubs across the country. King says his company also donated 20 hotspots in Jefferson City and 80 in Columbia.

“With the COVID-19 pandemic, it is even more necessary for people to stay connected outside of school,” King said. “These hotspots will help the Boys and Girls Club stay connected while they are at the club and also while they are at school.”

Didem Koroglu of BGCS says it’s a welcome move.

“Much of the learning is now done online,” Koroglu said. “The simple fact of having the opportunity to be able to do their homework when they’re not at the clubs and to stay connected. Parents too; as a family approach, we not only serve our club members, but our families as well.

Moving on to another group, the Springfield-Greene County Library District purchased 200 wireless access points.

“A lot of people need Internet service to apply for jobs or to pay their bills,” O’Dell said. “We were inspired by our former CIO David Patillo, who deceased a few months ago from COVID. It was inspired by a FCC Emergency Connectivity Fund project.

O’Dell says the library received a grant of $ 71,400 from the Federal Communications Commission.

“[Patillo] unfortunately didn’t see the result of his work, but we think the hot spots are there because he was inspired to start it, ”O’Dell said.

As long as you have a library card and sign a form stating that you do not have internet, a library hotspot can be borrowed for one year.

“One woman said it’s a good thing for people who, while they wait for the library hotspot to exit for three weeks, it’s great for them not to have to sit in the parking lot from the library and use the Wi-Fi service. that the library extends to the parking lots.

O’Dell says there are only a small amount of hot spots left to check out. But, her district will consider bringing that option back next year. BGCS says it will likely start distributing hotspots next week.

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