One of the top questions you ask MHOTC is “Where do I find free Wi-fi?” Now that many of us are working from home and find our usual haunts such as libraries and coffee shops shuttered, the need to stay connected is even greater. Even if you don’t have regular internet service in place, there are ways to stay online using your phone, tablet or laptop.
Until further notice, Comcast’s Xfinity will offer all internet users access for the next 60 days. Search for “xfinitywifi” network and download the Xfinity WiFi Hotspots app, or look for the nearest connection on Xfinity’s website.
Comcast is pausing its data plans for customers, with no disconnections or late fees, and every customer will have access to unlimited data at no charge. Non-Xfinity users will need to accept Terms and Conditions to access the network when requested to receive the free unlimited access.
AT&T customers (including prepaid customers) can use a hotspot that is included in some of the more expensive plans. But the company is also offering free WiFi access to everyone at its public WiFi hotspots (thousands of locations across the U.S.), by looking for “att-wifi” or “attwifi” on your device’s list of networks.
AT&T also has a program that offers internet access to low-income families who participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. If you are a new Access customer you can receive two months of service when you order by April 30. AT&T’s Access program has been expanded to include families participating in Head Start or the National School Lunch Program.
Charter Communications is also offering public WiFi to its customers. Look for “Spectrum WiFi” or “Cable WiFi” on your device or go to Spectrum website for a locator.
If you do not have internet and you are an educator (K-12 and college or university) or a student you are eligible for free broadband and WiFi connection for 60 days. Call 1-844-488-8395 to enroll or visit the website for information. For current Charter Communications customers, late fees are waived and services will not be terminated (for an undetermined amount of time).
Other places to find free Wi-Fi
We found an online map of free WiFi hotspots in the metro area. Many of these places have strong enough signals that you can park outside and still receive service. No promises, but at least it’s a starting point.
Your public library
Many public libraries offer free WiFi that extends to their parking areas. Customers using the library WiFi must abide by some version of this Technology Use Policy for Library Customers. Although libraries have closed at this time, some have elected to keep their WiFi access available to guests who park in their lots.
Fast food and coffee shops
Although all local restaurants and coffee shops are closed for dine-in, some may still have their Internet operating. Your mileage may vary, but it’s worth a call to ask. Many still offer internet use to customers, through an app or by agreeing to terms at the website login. If you are a customer, call and ask if this perk is still available at curbside.
Whole Foods, King Soopers and Sam’s Club all offer strong Wi-Fi connections. Your shopping times might be limited, but call and ask your store manager if WiFi is available outside the brick and mortar store.
A word of caution
If you are using public Wi-Fi, practice safety. Do not enter any sensitive information and always look for secure sites (https). Don’t use the “connect automatically” option, as this can expose information. And enable the two-factor identifier on frequently used sites so you can avoid hacks.