BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — The Brooklyn Public Library is connecting neighborhood residents to free Wi-Fi with a new program that loans out mobile hot spots for up to one year.
The portable Internet hubs are available for individuals lacking broadband access, and are part of a citywide initiative from the New York Public Library, Queens Library and Brooklyn Public Library.
A total of 10,000 mobile hot spots will be distributed through the city, with 3,000 accessible for Brooklyn residents.
“We hope that access to devices and free broadband is going to make it easier for people to find information, stay engaged civically, and have access to job-seeking and educational information,” said Jesse Montero, Brooklyn Public Library’s coordinator of information services.
The equipment is powered by Sprint and can support up to nine wireless devices at once.
The hot spots are intended for community members hardest hit by the digital divide. Throughout the five boroughs, 26.7 percent of households lack access to high-speed Internet, according to a 2013 report from the New York City’s Comptroller’s Office.
“We’re concentrating on neighborhoods with low computer ownership and little broadband in hopes of making people who have never had access more comfortable and digitally literate,” Montero said.
In addition to being accessible for cardholders who don’t have Internet at home, the hot spots will be made available for individuals in adult education and citizenship prep programs, as well as for those studying English.
Earlier this year, the NYPL piloted the program at branches on Staten Island and in The Bronx. December’s rollout is an expansion of the effort funded by Google, the Knight Foundation, Open Society Foundations and the Robin Hood Foundation.
Officials said the initiative is expected to cost $2 million.
Participants in Brooklyn can sign up for orientation sessions at branches including Brownsville, Saratoga, Marcy, Macon and DeKalb.
Individuals must be 17 or older, have a valid Brooklyn Public Library card with less than $15 in fines, present identification, and have no Internet access at home.
For more information, visit the Brooklyn Public Library website.