Toronto Public Library, Google to Lend Free Wi-Fi Hotspots

The Toronto Public Library and Google have announced a new Wi-Fi Hotspot Lending program, where citizens can borrow hotspots for free Internet at home, or no matter where they are in the city:

Just over a year ago Google Canada approached the Toronto Public Library (TPL) with the idea of lending out WiFi hotspots to our users. And today we are officially launching our WiFi hotspot lending pilot program, offering Torontonians free Internet at home.

The slated one-year pilot program looks to offer Internet for those in low-income households, starting at six TPL branches. The hotspots can be borrowed for up to six months at a time, with up to 10GB of data use per month.

Google TPL hotspot program

The data limit may be increased, as the TPL says “We’re actively investigating if vendors are willing to provide more flexible data services as this is critical to the program’s long-term success.” Other libraries, such as the Edmonton and Kitchener Public Library, offer unlimited data plans for borrowers.

Vickery Bowles, City Librarian, said in a statement le who can’t afford broadband Internet at home are at a significant disadvantage when it comes to school, looking for jobs or accessing government services and education.”

“We are choosing to invest in people by providing Internet access to neighbourhoods which need it most. The program will give our vulnerable residents the opportunity to look for jobs, do homework or use City services,” said Mayor John Tory.

Users are asked to attend hotspot orientation sessions on how to operate them, plus how to access TPL eLearning resources and more.

The program is being funded by a grant from Google.org and the City of Toronto.

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter, and @iPhoneinCanada, and on Google+.

  • Buddha

    Wow … So the potential of the major carriers raising data caps could actually come from Google in a roundabout way….? This is very interesting. I wonder a few things, are these devices portable hotspots? (battery powered, not installed to a wall outlet), what speed / network types are they on / which carrier are they connected to…??

    AND will this make a difference at all to any of the carriers in the long term? lol

  • Dave

    Make no mistake. Google will be right there recording your every move. What web sites you visit will be food for Google’s data bank.

  • clee666

    they already do without the hotspot lol

  • There’s no such thing as a free lunch!

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    Hmm, I wonder if these will be like the mythical free Toronto Zoo passes the library gives out – “Oh sorry, those are all gone. You need to line up for 3 hours early Saturday morning to get one of those. Make sure you’re one of the first three in line!”