Portable Wifi Hotspots Available

Applications being accepted now

Portable wifi hotspot image.

The Athol Public Library and the Athol Council on Aging are excited to announce the availability of 50 new portable wifi hotspots, free for the public to use.

So, what is a hotspot? A wifi hotspot is a device that lets you connect phones, tablets, computers, and other devices to the internet when you’re on the go. You can carry it with you and get wifi on the bus, in the car, in the woods, (and in your home, too). Each hotspot can provide connectivity for approximately ten devices, and has enough power for zoom calls, homework assignments, and streaming video.

The library has been successfully lending hotspots since 2021, and demand has been very high. “We typically have a waiting list, and patrons tell us that the wifi hotspots have made their lives much easier. It is terrific to have so many more to lend!” says Jean Shaughnessy, Director of the Athol Public Library.

The library’s 15 pre-existing hotspots, originally made available through a grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, go out for three weeks at a time. Anyone over 18 is eligible to borrow them.

This new group of hotspots, made possible by a grant funded by ARPA through the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs for the purpose of Enhancing Digital Literacy for Older Adults, is available to area residents 60 and older, and may be borrowed continuously from now through the end of November 2024.

Frequent hotspot users have said that being able to borrow the device from the library has saved them money and made it possible for them to productively work from home and homeschool their children. The hotspots have also been essential for folks who live in nearby towns where it just isn’t possible to purchase strong enough home internet.

According to Assistant Director Robin Shtulman, “We are really excited about this grant because it allows us to lend wifi hotspots to eligible applicants for the entire period from now through the end of November 2024, at no charge. Anyone who is interested is encouraged to pick up an application at either the Council on Aging or the Library. Applications for long-term wifi hotspots are being accepted now and will be approved on a rolling basis.”

If you want to borrow a hotspot for three weeks, simply visit the library for details.

For more information on any of the programs or services being offered please contact the Athol Council on Aging, 82 Freedom St., 978-249-8986, or the Athol Public Library, 568 Main St., 978-249-9515.