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Mayor Tim Keller Rolls Out “WiFi on Wheels” to Provide Free Wireless Internet Access Options to Students, Families

Locations include new mobile hotspots at 21 locations across Albuquerque, extends WiFi outside of City facilities with plans to expand to more locations

April 9, 2020

Today, Mayor Tim Keller announced an innovative new effort to provide free wireless internet options to Albuquerque residents. Due to coronavirus, many students are relying on learning from home, but not every family has equitable access to the internet. The City of Albuquerque is rolling out “WiFi on Wheels”, placing mobile WiFi units at APS schools as well as extending WiFi capabilities outside of City facilities.

“These new challenges in the time of coronavirus require innovative problem solving,” Mayor Tim Keller said. “Not all families have access to the internet, which creates major equity gaps as students try to learn from home. We’re stepping up to provide options to give students the best shot at learning, or even graduating, and to give everyone the opportunity to get on line when they need to.”

Users can drive up to within 100 feet of the mobile units and stay in their cars to promote social distancing.

For the initial phase, the City is providing free WiFi at:

  • Eight most frequented APS grab-and-go meal sites: Chaparral Elementary School, Dennis Chavez Elementary School, Helen Cordero Elementary School, James Monroe Middle School, Rudolfo Anaya Elementary School, Seven Bar Elementary School, Sierra Vista Elementary School, Truman Middle School
  • Six high schools during Chromebook distribution: Albuquerque High School, Atrisco Heritage Academy, Highland High School, Manzano High School, Rio Grande High School, West Mesa High School
  • Outside of seven City facilities:  Erna Fergusson Public Library, Juan Tabo Public Library, Lomas Tramway Public Library, Manzano Mesa Multi-Gen Center, San Pedro Public Library, Taylor Ranch Public Library, Westgate Heights Public Library

Additional locations, including 12 more meal sites, will be announced as they become available.

“We are investing in technologies and efforts that have a short-term impact and long-term value,” said Director of Technology and Innovation Brian Osterloh.

The City worked with Albuquerque Public Schools to place the first set of mobile WiFi units at the most frequented grab-and-go meal sites and high schools where APS is distributing Chromebooks to students. Central New Mexico Community College has also agreed to provide access to their guest network at their buildings.

“The City of Albuquerque has once again stepped up to help secure the immediate educational needs of our students,” said Superintendent Raquel Reedy. “We could not successfully transition from the traditional brick-and-mortar classrooms to distance learning without providing students WiFi options to deliver learning resources. Our students and families will benefit greatly from the WiFi drive-ups just announced. It’s time to come together as a community and APS is grateful to the City of Albuquerque for leading the way. Mil gracias.”

The City aims to expand into neighborhoods with the least amount of homes connected to the internet, the next 10 most frequented APS meals sites, and seven additional high schools distributing Chromebooks. Additional locations will be determined by need according to APS.

Whether using WiFi at a school or City facility, it is important to adhere to physical distancing guidelines by staying in your vehicle or at distance of at least six feet from others.

The mobile hotspots at APS meal sites will operate during regular meal site hours, Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The WiFi at City facilities and neighborhoods is available every day 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. To connect to these services, a wireless device — such as a laptop computer, smart phone, or tablet – is needed.

Updated locations, availability, and more information can be found at cabq.gov/wifi.