PUD to install free “drive-fi” internet hotspot sites


OKANOGAN – Students and others relying on internet connectivity to do work remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions will soon have access to a network of free drive-in hotspots thanks to a new Okanogan PUD broadband project. The PUD will be installing 15 “drive-fi” (drive-up Wi-Fi) connections throughout the county

Ron Gadeberg, the PUD’s Director of Power Resources and Broadband Services explained the drive-fi plan during the April 27 meeting of the board of commissioners. Gadeberg said that working with schools the PUD has identified 15 drive-in locations based on a combination of current network availability and local need for access.

The idea of these drive-fi connections is that anyone can drive to an access point, download and/or upload needed schoolwork and then drive away when done,” said PUD Community Relations Coordinator Sheila Corson. “Each location has about a 300-foot range for connectivity.”

The units arrived late last month and are being programmed and an installation scheduled planned by PUD staffers.

Once installed the units will be available most likely through the summer, then could be removed if school resumes as usual in the fall,” said Corson. “The PUD will work closely with schools to help share information on the drive-fi sites as they become available.”


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