Staying connected: Company offers up free WiFi hotspots

Sparklight Communications has partnered with business and property owners to open WiFi hotspots in the community, helping those without internet service stay connected. You can access the one in Fruitland at First Baptist Church.

FRUITLAND - Are you stuck at home without an internet connection? If so, Sparklight Communications is working to fill that need by installing 14 WiFi hotspots throughout Western Idaho for public use during the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a news release, Sparklight’s hotspots can be accessed in the parking lots of businesses located in Boise, Meridian, Nampa, Caldwell, Kuna, Marsing, Star, Emmett and Fruitland.

The Fruitland hotspot is at First Baptist Church, and is available for use whether it’s for video calls with family, work from home, schoolwork, telehealth or just staying entertained.

Tammy Gabel, communications manager for Sparklight, said to the newspaper on April 27 that the company did this to show its willingness to help with connectivity during this crisis. 

“We have opened these WiFi hotspots in our markets across the U.S. to meet the needs of our communities,” said Gabel. “We understand that not everyone has access to internet service, so we want to provide this service to enable connectivity for those who need it.”

Gabel said Sparklight has worked to partner with business and property owners to source locations for these hotspots, ensuring convenience along the way.

“In Fruitland, we worked with the Fruitland Chamber of Commerce and Payette County Emergency Management.”

Gabel said these hotspots will remain active for the foreseeable future, as a courtesy to those who need them to stay online at this time.

“We do not have any others planned for Fruitland at this time, but will continue to provide updates to media and via our social media pages should that change in future weeks.”

Gabel reminds the public that while we’re staying apart at this time, Sparklight understands that translates to a need to stay connected.

“A fast and reliable internet connection has never been more important for staying in touch with family, friends, school and work. Being a local connectivity provider means we are there for our communities in difficult times like these, and we remain committed to keeping our customers connected and supporting them through this crisis.”

In addition, Sparklight on March 12 discontinued data overage fees and suspended disconnection of services for residential and business customers rendered unable to pay their bill by the virus through May 12.

“We also began offering a low-cost 15 Megabit per second residential internet plan for $10 per month for sixty days beginning March 19, to help low-income families and those impacted by the pandemic, such as seniors and college students.”

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