NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – New Hanover County is working with Live Oak Bank and New Hanover County Schools to increase free wireless internet access throughout the county for children, families, and job seekers who lack access to high-speed internet. A map of the current wireless access points can be viewed here, and will be updated as new wireless locations are added.
In the initial phase of this collaboration, New Hanover County has extended outdoor, free public wireless access at the following county-owned locations:
Signage will be up at these locations in the coming days, notifying residents of these free Wi-Fi access points. The county’s network name is “NHC_FreeWifi” and does not require a password to access.
In addition, the county has several buildings with free wireless inside that the public can access, including the Government Center (230 Government Center Drive) and all four public libraries – which are currently open with modified hours and have public computers available for one-hour sessions.
“We worked with the school system to identify main locations within the county that could be beneficial for students to have wireless access, and we plan to extend Wi-Fi at several more county buildings in the coming weeks,” said New Hanover County’s Chief Information Officer Leslie Chaney. “The first part of this initiative is extending wireless on county and school properties, and then our partnership with Live Oak Bank allows us to go further into the community than the county and school system could do alone.”
New Hanover County Schools is providing electronic devices to all students for virtual learning, and offering hot spots to families who do not have internet access. There are also several school locations that have extended wireless outside buildings, and those drive-up Wi-Fi sites can be viewed here.
In addition, Live Oak Bank is currently working with several community organizations that serve children, to provide sustainable and enhanced wireless infrastructure and increase free Wi-Fi access outside of the buildings as well. Additional funding is provided by nCino and Apiture to add more site locations. As wireless is extended at these community sites, the public will be informed.
“We believe it is important in this unique time to ensure there is equitable and free internet access for the residents of New Hanover County,” said Kate Groat, Director of Corporate Philanthropy at Live Oak Bank. “Thanks to our collaboration with the county, the school system, local organizations and other businesses in town like our friends at nCino and Apiture, we believe there are many opportunities for us to band together and create access to free internet and online resources for everyone in our county.”
All of these efforts and extended wireless areas will help students, families, and job seekers who don’t have internet access otherwise. It is an important collaboration that will continue in the months ahead in additional locations around New Hanover County.
As new Wi-Fi locations come online, they will be added to the county’s webpage at NHCgov.com/free-wifi.