OSHEAN Inc., a leading non-profit internet service provider (ISP) with cloud and security services for anchor institutions across the State of Rhode Island and surrounding region, and Ocean State Libraries (OSL) have been awarded $85,000 from Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo and Rhode Island Commerce for the Take It Outside Initiative. The funds will go directly to support the ongoing effort to provide free, public outdoor Wi-Fi to all public libraries across the state.
OSL and OSHEAN are among 41 organizations awarded funds that are committed to encouraging and increasing outdoor commerce in the state to reduce the transmission rate of COVID-19. The free public Wi-Fi project kicked off earlier this year when the teams worked together to launch the service at the Warwick Public Library. Library patrons and community members can now access high-speed, secure wireless internet at any time of day or night from the library’s parking lot.
Furthermore, with the expansion and formalization of distance learning into school curriculums across the state, the funds awarded to OSL and OSHEAN remain critical in expanding free public Wi-Fi to other communities across Rhode Island.
“The pandemic overall has exposed what many service providers already knew. There are still many households who do not have reliable Wi-Fi access,” said Dave Marble, CEO at OSHEAN. “We’re really excited to be doing our part to help those in need during these unprecedented times by partnering with our colleagues at Ocean State Libraries to provide this free service to increase access and opportunity for all.”
The Take It Outside grant will fund the remaining 40 sites that will be set up to offer free, outdoor Wi-Fi access. In addition to support from the Take It Outside grant, installation will be collaboratively provided with donations of time, support and resources from the teams at Intellibeam, the Information Technology Disaster Recovery Center (ITDRC), OSHEAN, and OSL.