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City of Covington installs signage marking locations of free Covington Connect wi-fi hotspot availablity

If you see one of the 118 blue-and-white signs newly mounted on poles around Covington, you’re in luck: Odds are you’re in a “hotspot,” and that means free Wi-Fi for you and your family.

Covington Public Works crews recently installed the signs to better identify areas in eight neighborhoods where the City worked with Cincinnati Bell last year to create 124 strategically placed Wi-Fi Access Points. Each access point creates a “zone of connectivity” that offers free internet to streets and houses located around it.

Registration is required.

(Photo from City of Covington)

The signs and hotspots are located in eight neighborhoods – Eastside, Helentown, Austinburg, Peasleburg, Levassor Park, Lewisburg, Latonia, and West Covington – to cast a wide net over the largest possible concentration of students.

“With school coming back into session, we want to make sure parents are aware of these zones and know how to sign up for the free Wi-Fi,” said Ken Smith, Covington’s interim city manager and Neighborhood Services director. “It’s easy to do, and the benefits are tremendous not just for students but also for entire families.”

The city has provided a map to locate “hotspots” offering Cincinnati Bell Wi-Fi. Visit www.covingtonky.gov for printable instructions on how to register for the network.

Covington Connect is an aggressive $3 million effort to address the digital divide by expanding access to public Wi-Fi through much of the City. It’s a collaborative effort involving the City, Cincinnati Bell, the Housing Authority of Covington, Renaissance Covington, local computer firms Blair Technology Group and ReGadget, and Comp-U-Dopt, a Houston-based non-profit organization.

Covington officials unveiled the initiative during the height of the pandemic last summer to both support distance learning for students at Covington schools and to expand access to education and economic opportunities, training and health care for families.

“This has been a fantastic partnership that, quite simply, will strengthen the quality of life of literally thousands of families,” Covington Mayor Joe Meyer said. “Internet access is critical – students use it routinely for school, and people go online to access information, shop, pay rent, apply for a job, reserve a library book, attend a training seminar, see a doctor, and perform a myriad other tasks.”

Through April 2021, more than 2,400 families had registered for the free Wi-Fi through Covington Connect. Statistics showed roughly 72,000 “sessions” with an average use time of 53 minutes between December 2020 (when the first hotspots came online) and April 2021, with more than one-third of those being students.

To register:

• Open the Settings app on your wireless phone.

• Choose Wi-Fi or “Wireless Networks” and then turn on Wi-Fi by tapping “Off>.”

• The button next to Wi-Fi should turn green, showing that Wi-Fi has been turned on. Choose “_Covington Connect” from the list of available networks.

• When the browser on your device opens a log-in screen, enter the information as requested and answer any questions, then click the “log-in” button. Your profile will be saved.

• For future logins, you will need to enter your zip code and click “Log-in.”

City of Covington

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