Toronto Public Library is conducting a pilot program allowing users who do not have internet access at home to borrow WiFi hotspots.
How the service works
- Which branches are offering the service?
- The branches participating in the pilot program are Albion, Cedarbrae, Evelyn Gregory, Parliament Street, Thorncliffe, and York Woods.
- What data plan do the hotspots come with?
- Participants have an unlimited monthly data plan.
- How long do participants get to keep the hotspots?
- Six months. The hotspot must be returned to the branch where it was borrowed.
- Are there overdue fines?
- No. The device will be disabled after six months and must be returned to the branch where it was borrowed.
- What if people lose the hotspot?
- There is a replacement fee of $215 for a lost or damaged device, along with the fee for any related equipment (for example, USB cable or charger).
- Will the library monitor participants' internet use?
- No, TPL doesn't monitor, collect, or store data about users' internet activity.
Why TPL is loaning hotspots
Internet access has become an essential part of the services libraries should provide. We’re already hubs for free Internet, with line-ups of people often waiting to use in-branch computers to look for jobs, check email, study or fill out government forms.
The CRTC reports that only 59 percent of low income households have Internet access at home. People who don’t have Internet access at home are at a disadvantage, and we have a role to play in helping to close the digital divide.
How this program is funded
The program is made possible by a donation from Google.org and funds from the City of Toronto through the 2016 operating budget.