QUINCY, Fla. (WCTV) – Cars lined up by the dozens in Quincy Wednesday as Gadsden County partnered with Figgers Communications to provide free internet to thousands of residents. The program comes after the pandemic has put strains on households as some did not have proper internet service to work from home or go to school.
The Chief Operating Officer for Figgers Communications, Germain Bede told WCTV that the WiFi hotspots are a small attempt to help bridge the digital divide in Gadsden County.
Some residents say they’ve gone years without internet but the pandemic changed everything. Ernest Miller, one Gadsden County resident, said, “I never had none. None. This is my first go around and the only thing I did was around my grandchildren.” Willie Baker, another Gadsden County resident, said, “It’s a blessing really to be honest with you, because, like I said, any little bit helps and because this day in time money is really tight.”
One resident says she would have to go to family members homes or to public places just to use the internet. “I would go to my sister’s house or somewhere somebody had it in order to use it. I used to go the library and that was shut down, couldn’t go there anymore,” Amy McBride explained.
The goal of the Get Connected Gadsden program is to supply free internet to 25,000 Gadsden County residents for the next three months. “There are a lot of places within the county that are suffering for a long time now, for generations and years of not having proper internet service,” Bede said.
As the pandemic continues and many still work and go to school from home, the communications company hopes the tiny device can make a huge difference, and residents say they are thankful for the helping hand.
“I appreciate Figgers for doing this, it’s a wonderful service and appreciate what he’s doing,” McBride added.
The hotspot is only for three months of service. After that, the service is available at a discounted price. Gadsden County is scheduled to do another wifi hotspot distribution this Saturday and Sunday.