Harris County Public Library (HCPL) is teaming up with T-Mobile (NASDAQ: TMUS) and Google to launch HCPL Connected, a community-wide internet connectivity campaign for Harris County residents in need of online access. The program will provide 40,000 T-Mobile 5G MiFi hotspots with unlimited data on T-Mobile’s nationwide 5G network and 15,000 Chromebook laptop computers.
Harris County Public Library card holders who do not have adequate access to the internet will be able to borrow a T-Mobile hotspot or a Chromebook, or both, at any of HCPL’s 26 branch libraries and 20 community partner sites. Visit www.hcpl.net for locations.
The Harris County Public Library Connected initiative is funded by the American Rescue Plan Act approved by Congress in March to help schools and libraries provide critical online resources to students and library patrons by addressing needs for remote learning and equitable access. Providing educational resources that connect students to college and career readiness, digital literacies, foundational literacies, mentorships, scholarships, and workforce development components inspire innovation and exploration. Included in the plan is the Federal Communications Commission’s Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF), which is designed to increase broadband internet access in the community. Schools and libraries across the country were invited to submit proposals for the grants, of which the Harris County Public Library received approximately $30 million, the largest awarded to a library system.
HCPL chose T-Mobile because it wanted residents to have the fastest and more reliable 5G network. “HCPL is thrilled to partner with T-Mobile and Google to help bridge the digital divide in our community,” says Edward Melton, Harris County Public Library Executive Director. “By providing adequate access to connectivity and technology, we are helping to improve the quality of life and strengthen our community in keeping with our mission of being a pathway to knowledge.”
All that is required to borrow a T-Mobile hotspot or Chromebook is a valid Harris County Public Library card, a visit to the library, and completion of an in-person application. Harris County residents who do not currently have a library card can receive one at any HCPL branch or a partner location. The initial check-out period will last until 6/30/2022, although HCPL is exploring additional funding sources to extend the program.
“T-Mobile has long been committed to using our 5G network, scale and resources for good by helping to build a more connected and equitable future for all. Supporting customers like Harris County Public Library in an initiative aimed at breaking down barriers to access is a great example of how we can open even more doors of opportunity by coming together,” says Dave Bezzant, Vice President, T-Mobile for Government. “Extending opportunities to make it easier for people to wirelessly connect to school and work helps to further bridge the digital divide.”
To help HCPL borrowers maximize their T-Mobile hotspots and Chromebooks, quick-start guides will be distributed at checkout, computer classes will be held in person at library locations, and video tutorials will be available online at www.hcpl.net/services/digital-access.
HCPL selected Chromebooks because it wanted its residents to have access to a robust but user-friendly mobile computer. “Connectivity matters to every community, which is why the work of the Emergency Connectivity Fund is vital to bridge the digital divide,” says Thomas Riedl, Chrome OS Director of Product Management. “We’re proud to play a role in the ECF project through the Harris County Public Library. Chrome OS’ ability to seamlessly and securely share devices between users makes it a natural fit alongside T-Mobile hotspots to serve as many people as possible.”
For more information about Harris County Public Library and its programs and services for Harris County residents, visit https://www.hcpl.net/services.
Follow Harris County on social media for the latest programs, events and library news @Harriscountypl.
For more information on T-Mobile for Business initiatives for schools, libraries, colleges and universities, visit https://www.t-mobile.com/business/education.
Follow T-Mobile’s Official Twitter Newsroom @TMobileNews to stay up to date with the latest company news.
Most Reliable: According to independent third party umlaut from crowdsourced user experience data (April to September 2021). Fastest: Based on median, overall combined 5G speeds according to analysis by Ookla® of Speedtest Intelligence® data 5G download speeds for Q4 2021. See 5G device, coverage, & access details at T-Mobile.com.