Need free Wi-Fi in Cleveland? The numbers behind new program

Libraries checking-out units to users

Need free Wi-Fi in Cleveland? The numbers behind new program
You can now checkout this free Wi-Fi hotspot from Cleveland and Cuyahoga County Public Libraries. (Source: WOIO)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -On Tuesday the Cleveland Foundation, along with the Cleveland Public Library and the Cuyahoga County Public Lirbary, rolled out a new free WiFi program allowing Clevelanders to check out free hotspots.

The need-to-know about Cleveland libraries lending hotspots

The hotspots mean users can connect to Wi-Fi in their homes giving them access to the internet.

Today we’re learning the numbers, including cost, behind the program.

900 Units- 600 units were spread out to 28 Cleveland Public Library locations. 300 units were given to four Cuyahoga County Public Libraries.

$80 per unit- Each unit cost $80 which was paid for by a grant awarded to the Cleveland Foundation.

$10/month $120/year- The cost of the Wi-Fi service for each unit is $10 per month or $120 per year. This cost is also paid for by the grant, but will only be paid for one year. As the program progresses this year the foundation and the libraries will have to determine how to continue the project.

Three week check out- Each unit can be checked out for three weeks at a time. At the end of three weeks the user must return it, or re-check out the unit. They will only be allowed to re-check it out if there is no waiting list. Alan Ashby with the Cleveland Foundation said they hope the 900 is enough. “We believe these numbers will help mitigate any lengthy waitlists. We think the library systems will tweak the number of hotspots available at each location as they determine usage patterns," Ashby said.

If units aren’t turned in at the end of the three weeks the library has the ability to turn off each unit individually.

Ashby also said if the program goes well it may point to a larger need.

“We’d like to see a demand for the hotspots and that the libraries are able to meet that demand. It was wonderful yesterday to see the excitement of the people checking out the hotspots. If there’s a strong demand, it will also allow us to make the case that internet should be treated like a utility and made available to everyone in their homes."

Copyright 2018 WOIO. All rights reserved.