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Valley College will offer free Wi-Fi to students throughout the end of the semester

Wi-Fi will be accessible in parking lot F where students must remain in their car at all times.

By Marcos Franco, Staff Writer

Parking lot F empty on the Friday before finals week as students prepare for exams elsewhere. (Photo by Marcos Franco/The Valley Star)

Students looking for a safe and convenient place to study and prepare for finals outside of their bedroom are in luck as Valley College offers free Wi-fi on campus.

Although free internet access may draw students to campus, proper health protocols such as social distancing and facial coverings will be enforced. Service will be provided in parking lot F, located on Ethel Avenue, north of Burbank Boulevard until Dec. 20. Instruction for network connection is available on Valley’s getting connected page. Students are to remain in their car at all times as well as keep an empty parking space in between vehicles. Restrooms and device charging stations will not be available.

“Clearly we can’t have conditions where students are gathering and creating unsafe conditions, [like] not physical distancing,” said Valley President Barry Gribbons. “It will be safe for students to remain in their cars to access the Wi-Fi signal.”

According to Microsoft, at least six independent studies show that broadband internet (download speeds of at least 25 Mbps and upload speeds of at least 3 Mbps) has a direct impact on job and economic growth; however, many low-income households lack high-speed internet because they cannot afford it. Students who depend on public resources such as school, libraries or cafés for Wi-Fi have been limited by business closures making it difficult to complete schoolwork or access video conferencing.

Since the start of the pandemic, multiple internet service providers have updated their low-cost service programs in order to ensure reliable internet access for all students who need it. The Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) has partnered with EveryoneOn, a nonprofit organization that aims to offer affordable internet service and computers to low income households. Since 2012, EveryoneOn has connected more than 784,000 people to the internet as well as distributed thousands of computers.

While on-campus internet was made accessible for only the final two weeks of the fall semester, Valley plans to offer students free Wi-Fi for the full length of the winter session and spring semester, though the location may change.

“We’ll also make it available for winter and spring,” said Gribbons. “We might change the location though to a parking lot that’s a little bit easier for students to get in and out of.”

While reliable high-speed internet has always been important to society, it has become a necessity in today’s world. Every day, schools and businesses become more dependent on the digital realm and without a sufficient Wi-Fi connection, students seeking new educational opportunities are limited.

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