Free Wi-Fi for rural residents 'not ideal but it's something'
LONDON, ONT. -- Rural residents and students throughout the London region now have another option for internet access.
The Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB) has partnered with several local communities throughout Oxford, Middlesex and Elgin counties, along with networking technology company Cisco to provide free WiFi at select locations.
It comes as the students within the school board become more engaged in e-learning, brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The issue of inconsistent and inadequate internet service is something that’s not lost on the school board, said associate director Jeff Pratt.
“It’s critical that we support all families and all students that want access to the internet.“
Pratt said both residents and students can access the WiFi at selected locations including libraries, schools, and community centres.
“If you’re a family you can go to the closest location, whether it’s a public library or school location. It’s free internet access. There will be a drop-down for TVDSB so that parents can directly access the internet.“
A known advocate for improved wifi for rural communities, Thames Centre deputy mayor says the program is a good start, but stresses the need for infrastructure.
“Unfortunatley it doesn’t hit the mark. Obviously it doesn’t build infrastructure like we need. I guess we’re hoping for that you get a nice day because our public libraries are currently closed to the public due to COVID. You’re really just hoping that you get a nice day and can sit outside the library and do your work. I mean it’s not ideal by any means, but it’s something.“
List of Wi-Fi locations
County of Elgin Libraries:
List of WiFi locations
County of Elgin Libraries:
• Aylmer Library, 38 John Street South, Aylmer
• Belmont Library, 14134 Belmont Road, Belmont
• Dutton Library, 236 Shacleton Street, Dutton
• Port Burwell Library, 21 Pitt Street, Port Burwell
• Port Stanley Library, 302 Bridge Street, Port Stanley
• Rodney Library, 207 Furnival Road, Rodney
• Shedden Library, 35921 Talbot Line, Shedden
• Springfield Library, 12105 Whittaker Road, Springfield
• Straffordville Library, 9366 Plank Road, PO Box 209 Straffordville
• West Lorne Library, 160A Main Street, West Lorne
County of Middlesex Libraries:
• Ailsa Craig Library, 147 Main Street, Ailsa Craig
• Coldstream Library, 10227 Ilderton Road, Coldstream
• Delaware Library, 29 Young Street, Delaware
• Ilderton Library, 40 Heritage Drive, Ilderton
• Komoka Library, 1 Tunks Lane, Komoka
• Melbourne Library, 6570 Longwoods Road, Melbourne
• Mt Brydges Library, 22501 Adelaide Road, Mt. Brydges
• Parkhill Library, 229 B Main Street, Parkhill
• Thorndale Library, 21790 Fairview Road, Thorndale
• Wardsville Library, 21935 Hagerty Road, Wardsville
County of Oxford Libraries
• Brownsville Public Library, 292240 Culloden Road, Brownsville
• Burgessville Public Library, 604 Main Street South (Hwy.59), Burgessville
• Embro Public Library, 135 Huron Street (Oxford 6), Embro
• Harrington Public Library, 539 Victoria Street
• Ingersoll Public Library, 130 Oxford Street, Ingersoll
• Innerkip Public Library, 695566 17th Line, Innerkip, (Innerkip Community Centre)
• Mount Elgin Library, 333204 Plank Line (Hwy 19), Mount Elgin
• Norwich Public Library, 10 Tidey Street, Norwich ON.
• Otterville Public Library, 207 Main Street West (Oxford 19), Otterville
• Plattsville Public Library, 112 Mill Street East, Plattsville
• Princeton Public Library, 25 Main Street, Princeton
• Tavistock Public Library, 40 Woodstock St.South, Tavistock
• Thamesford Public Library, 165 Dundas Street (Hwy 2), Thamesford
• Tillsonburg Public Library, 2 Library Lane, Tillsonburg
More locations are expected to be added in the future, including a possible partnership with Fanshawe College.