C Spire is expanding its free, complimentary high-speed WiFi to residents in this small town in the southwest corner of the state so they can access the internet from the safety and convenience of their cars in the parking lot of Treppendahl's Super Foods during the coronavirus public health emergency.
With most Woodville businesses, offices, libraries and other public buildings closed or operating on limited schedules to comply with social distancing policies, C Spire has partnered with Mississippi House Rep. Angela Cockerham to offer high-speed internet access in the parking lot outside of the store at 130 Highway 61 South.
"In rural areas like Wilkinson County, the digital divide is a harsh reality. Many residents either do not have access or reasonable options to get affordable internet," said Cockerham, who has worked to secure more internet access in rural Mississippi counties. "We are grateful to C Spire for stepping up during this time of great need to help local residents with this digital lifeline."
Cockerham said COVID-19 has forced many students to rely on online educational resources, with most schools closed due to the virus outbreak. Residents forced out of work need internet access to file online unemployment claims and small businesses need to file online claims with state and federal relief agencies, which is the best way to avoid long telephone waits on hold, she added.
This is the second site that C Spire has partnered with Cockerham to activate in a rural market. In late April, the company turned up a complimentary pop up WiFi site at the Amite County Courthouse in Liberty, Mississippi.
C Spire is making free pop up WiFi internet access available in 18 markets, including the two C Spire retail stores nearest the Woodville location at 112 Anna Drive, Suite A in McComb and 971 Brookway Boulevard in Brookhaven. Under that program, students and parents can pull into a C Spire store parking lot, park their vehicle in designated areas and log on to the free high-speed WiFi to help them work on school assignments until schools reopen.
Availability may vary by market based on municipal or county stay-at-home guidelines, rules or local curfews. Access is intended for use by local residents, students and educational professionals. C Spire's sister company, Franklin Telephone, is providing free WiFi outside the Franklin Chess Center, 63 Main Street, in Meadville.
C Spire also is providing, in partnership with local community organizations, free pop up WiFi internet access in the parking lots of churches in Jackson, Ridgeland, Crystal Springs, Tupelo and Laurel.
Since the onset of COVID-19, C Spire has stayed ahead of customer and community needs. The company modified the C Spire Health smartphone app in partnership with the University of Mississippi Medical Center to exclusively serve as a COVID-19 triage. C Spire added extra data and free access to educational websites for its wireless customers, started additional curbside pickup locations, implemented same day delivery, processed free next-day shipping for most online orders from its 24/7/365 cspire.com website with chat reps to answer questions, and assisted business customers to quickly set-up work-from-home capability for their employees.
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