Okanogan County PUD’s free drive-fi hotspots are up and running

OKPUD/submitted photo In the Box: An example of work being done to make hotspots happen, this one at the Okanogan Armory.

OKPUD/submitted photo
In the Box: An example of work being done to make hotspots happen, this one at the Okanogan Armory.

Several locations available to serve students learning remotely and their families

OKANOGAN – Okanogan County PUD’s new drive-fi (drive-in WiFi) hotspots are ready to serve Okanogan County students and families with a place to access schoolwork and connect with teachers.

Phone test: Okanogan PUD crew member Lee Taylor connects to the free hotspot his crew recently installed.

Phone test: Okanogan PUD crew member Lee Taylor connects to the free hotspot his crew recently installed.

Working with the schools throughout PUD territory, the district identified 15 locations based on broadband availability and the local need for additional access. The PUD has installed 13 of the sites, with two more to come soon from retail service providers. Updates on the sites’ progress and a map of each location are available on the district’s website, www.okanoganpud.org.

The sites will remain in operation most likely through the summer, but could remain in place if still needed for school in the fall. Anyone can drive up to one of these points, utilizing existing parking lots to stop and stay in their car to follow social distancing guidelines. Users can then access the internet, download or upload needed schoolwork, etc., and then drive away when done. Each location has about a 300-foot range.

The sites are open access, so do not require a password. Users simply need to have their devices search for a wireless connection, and look for the name “OKPUD_FreeWifi.” Because it is an unsecured network, the district also advises that users exercise caution in sharing confidential material. Signage will be placed at each location soon.

The district will be able to monitor how much usage each site gets and will consider additional sites if needed.

Up high: Talk about social distancing. Crews installed the hotspots at access points throughout the county.

Up high: Talk about social distancing. Crews installed the hotspots at access points throughout the county.

Active PUD locations are:

Carlton – Old Carlton Road at 90-degree corner near Texas Creek Road

Conconully – Sit-n-Bull parking lot, 308 N. Main St.

Crumbacher – On Crumbacher Road, between Ponderosa Drive and Oakes

Drive

Oroville – Substation parking lot, near soccer field, 12 th Avenue

Malott – Malott Improvement Club parking lot, 123 School St.

Methow – End of the pavement, South Main Street

Okanogan – Parking lot of Okanogan Armory, 71 Rodeo Trail

Omak – Parking lot of Wenatchee Valley College N., 116 Apple Ave. W.

Omak – St. Anne’s Episcopal Church parking lot, 639 Ridge Dr. S.

Pateros – Across street from Pateros Garden Apartments, 249 Dawson St. S.

Swanson Mill – Swanson Mill Fire Dept., 474 Swanson Mill Rd.

Twisp – Twisp Fire Station parking lot, 234 W. 2 nd Ave.

Tonasket – Parking lot of Tonasket PUD office, 17 W. 3 rd St.

Soon to be active RSP sites are:

Brewster – Parking lot of Brewster Boys & Girls Club, 601 Cliff Ave. W.

Loomis – Parking lot of Loomis Community Church, 13 Palmer Ave.

About Sheila Corson

Sheila Corson is the Community Relations Coordinator for the Okanogan County PUD. Experienced in writing, reporting, photography, graphic design, website and social media management and other communications media. APR (Accredited in Public Relations) earned 2017.