During this move to online learning, many students may face a challenge in accessing the internet. Below is a broad list of options that may be helpful. All of the options may not be applicable to all students.
Places you may be able to drive to
- Wi-Fi access at Virginia Western’s campus is accessible from many parking lots.
- Check your local public libraries, even though the buildings are closed, they may still have access in the parking lots as well.
- You can find free Wi-Fi provided by the City of Salem and Roanoke College in Downtown Salem along the Main Street corridor from Craig Ave to Academy Street and Clay Street to Burwell Street. It can also be accessed at Salem Stadium, fairgrounds, and in City buildings. https://salemva.gov/Departments/Technology-Systems/Salem-Wifi
- Many local restaurants, fast food joints, coffee shops, etc. that are still open are leaving the Wi-Fi on even if the inside dining has closed. Some Wi-Fi providers are opening up their hotspots in public places so that everyone can access them.
- Map of Public Wifi Hotspots
Internet providers for your residence
Not all students in our region have internet providers that are accessible from their residence. Those that do may be able to take advantage of limited-time free or reduced cost service. Not all providers serve all parts of our region so you may need to contact the service provider to verify that your address is covered.
We have listed some of the current deals below. These offers are changing quickly so this information may not be accurate.
- Comcast/Xfinity Internet Essentials is offering free internet for 60 days for low-income households: https://corporate.comcast.com/covid-19
- Spectrum/ Charter Spectrum will offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with students who don’t already have a Spectrum broadband subscription. To enroll, call 844-488-8395. https://corporate.charter.com/newsroom/charter-to-offer-free-access-to-spectrum-broadband-and-wifi-for-60-days-for-new-K12-and-college-student-households-and-more
- Verizon has a discounted LifeLine program for low-income households. For details, see: https://www.verizon.com/support/consumer/account/manage-account/lifeline-discount
- Cox Communications Connect2Compete program provides 30 days of free internet access for households with children in K-12: https://www.cox.com/residential/internet/connect2compete/covid-19-response.html
If you have a data plan on your mobile phone, you may be able to access the internet from a laptop, desktop, or tablet computer by turning your cellphone into a mobile hotspot. Search your provider’s website or see this article for basic instructions: https://www.pcmag.com/how-to/how-to-turn-yourphone-into-a-wi-fi-hotspot
BE AWARE: Data charges may apply and may be significant!!
Deals from mobile phone providers
Some cell service providers are suspending data limits/caps and waiving late fees for bills for the next 30 days. Check your provider’s website to see if your data limits have been extended.
All current T-Mobile customers who have cell-phone plans with data will be granted unlimited smartphone data for the next 60 days. They’ll also receive an additional 20GB of mobile hot spot service for those two months. https://www.t-mobile.com/news/tmobile-to-increase-network-capacity-and-expand-roaming-for-sprint-customers