Beginning this week, Truestream, powered by Great Lakes Energy, will begin offering free Wi-Fi hotspots throughout parts of Emmet and Charlevoix counties for rural students to access online learning. Truestream, which connects rural, unserved residents with internet speeds up to 1 Gig, is Great Lakes Energy’s (GLE) new fiber network.
“Our commitment to the communities we serve is stronger than ever,” says Shaun Lamp, CEO of Truestream. “We recognize that access to the internet is increasingly crucial, especially for students during these unprecedented times, and that calls for all of us to do what we can to meet the needs of our community.”
Since the Truestream fiber internet and voice network is still under construction in parts of Great Lakes Energy’s service area, the free, temporary hotspots serve to fill a gap for rural residents who may be left without access to high-speed internet during the COVID-19 crisis.
Truestream is partnering with local businesses to utilize their parking lot space for the hotspots. Students will be able to access Wi-Fi in the parking lots of the following locations by the listed dates:
Once in the parking lot, users are asked to remain in the car. Up to 100 devices will be able to connect concurrently to the Truestream network. Users will be prompted to accept the Terms of Service by opening a website browser once c a device has connected to the Truestream Wi-Fi. Once connected, devices will be remembered for eight hours before having to accept the terms of service again. The primary purpose of the hotspots is to help local students, but residents who may need to access the internet for working for home are also welcome to do so.
This decision comes on the heels of other recent adjustments Truestream and GLE have made following the unpreceded shutdown of schools and businesses across the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic. Truestream began upgrading current internet customers to 1 Gig speeds for one month at a discounted rate and implementing assisted self-installations to lessen person-to-person contact between customers and technicians.
Truestream/GLE encourages those using the free Wi-Fi to practice social distancing and other precautionary measures as outlined by the CDC.
Truestream’s COVID-19 response is online at truestreamfiber.com/news.
Great Lakes Energy’s COVID-19 response is online at gtlakes.com/blog.
About Great Lakes Energy and Truestream: As the largest electric cooperative utility in the state and one of the largest in the nation, GLE serves more than 120,000 electric cooperative members in 26 counties in western, lower Michigan. The cooperative operates eight offices throughout its service area. Truestream is Great Lakes Energy’s fiber internet and voice network providing service to more than 2,200 Great Lakes Energy members. For more information about Great Lakes Energy visit gtlakes.com. For more information about Truestream visit truestreamfiber.com.