FDEM announces free public Wi-Fi access in Lee County

by | Nov 3, 2022

  • FDEM announced that Lee County residents now have access to dozens of free public Wi-Fi locations
  • Individuals can connect to the network and use the password prominently displayed on the mobile Starlink vans at designated locations
  • Hurricane Ian made landfall on Sept. 28, pummeling Florida’s Gulf Coast as a Category 4 storm

The Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) announced on Thursday dozens of free public Wi-Fi locations throughout Lee County to support communities as they continue to recover from Hurricane Ian.

According to a news release, residents will be able to access these free, public Wi-Fi sites by driving within the vicinity of the locations and connecting to the “CTL-QF Free Wi-Fi” network. Additionally, the state has deployed hundreds of Starlink devices, including mobile Starlink devices in areas that have structural loss, to assist responders and residents in impacted areas.

Individuals can connect to the network and use the password prominently displayed on the mobile Starlink vans at designated locations. FDEM noted these mobile devices are deployed strategically throughout the state, as needed.

“These free, public locations will allow Ian survivors to have critical access to Wi-Fi throughout the area as we continue work restoring internet access to Southwest Florida,” said FDEM Director Kevin Guthrie. “I encourage impacted residents to take advantage of these locations to connect with loved ones and submit disaster assistance applications to quickly receive the aid they need.”

“The Governor has been laser-focused on helping Floridians recover from Hurricane Ian. Part of that effort means ensuring that Floridians have access to phone and internet service. DMS has worked with phone carriers and internet providers to ensure that impacted residents have the necessary tools to begin to rebuild,” said Pedro Allende, Secretary of Management Services. “Augmenting these efforts, the Florida Digital Service, Division of Telecommunications, and partners have worked tirelessly to create a network of free mobile hotspots to extend the ability for Floridians to connect to the internet and support recovery efforts.”

The Division, Department of Management Services (DMS) and Florida Digital Service have been working with private sector partners to restore communication services to areas impacted by Hurricane Ian. While efforts to restore cell phone service, internet service, and cable continue, 32 sites have been established in coordination with local governments and small businesses for residents to obtain these services for free.

“The Florida Digital Service continues to show a robust digital response to Hurricane Ian response and recovery,” said James Grant, State Chief Information Officer. “Thanks to the Governor’s leadership, we have been able to move quickly to assist people who need these services to get their lives back on track.”

Residents seeking help at Disaster Recovery Centers will have access to flyers that depict the mobile hot spot locations, which FDEM said are subject to change as network restoration continues.

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