More than 18 million Americans lack access to high-speed internet, most of them in rural communities, and roughly 9 million K-12 students and 400,000 public school teachers lack reliable internet access.
The American Connection Project is attempting to connect users with Wi-Fi through an interactive Wi-Fi map. The map provides a free resource to help the public locate more than 2,300 free Wi-Fi locations across 49 U.S. states. The map includes Wi-Fi locations from Land O’Lakes, Inc. and its ag retail owner network, along with several partner organizations including 4-H, CentraCare, Compeer, Kentucky Farm Bureau, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Polaris, Inc., the Public Library Association, Tractor Supply Company and Watch Communications.
The American Connection Project fosters long-term digital inclusion in support of rural communities. Efforts include:
- raising awareness about the critical nature of connectivity;
- advocating for meaningful policy reform and broadband investment; and,
- taking decisive action to provide connectivity options where they’re needed most.
The Wi-Fi map is an extension of efforts undertaken by the American Connection Project to close the digital divide to create opportunities and reduce digital inequality for rural and urban communities in the United States. The map is designed to provide immediate but temporary access for those Americans who lack access to the internet.
“The launch of the American Connection Project map marks an important milestone in our effort to bring critical services to disconnected communities across America – and a resource for individuals to find broadband access when they truly need it,” said Tina May, Vice President of Rural Services at Land O’Lakes, Inc.
“Broadband access was already a great challenge for students before the pandemic, so now that so many young people are matriculating from home, it’s imperative that they have high speed internet connections they can depend on," said Jennifer Sirangelo president and CEO, National 4-H Council.
“All Americans, but particularly rural Americans, will benefit when greater access to affordable broadband internet services is created,” said Mark Haney, President of Kentucky Farm Bureau.
Throughout the next several months, additional locations will be added to the map. The American Connection Project searchable Wi-Fi map can be accessed at https://www.americanconnection.io/.