Seven volunteer fire stations throughout Daviess County are now public WiFi hotspots, providing free internet access 24/7 for rural citizens. The hotspots were installed to help both students and adults who need to work remotely during the pandemic.
Signs with the username and password are posted at each station, marking the preferred parking locations. Families are asked to follow health and safety guidelines, and they are not allowed to enter any of the buildings. Citizens are asked to give priority access to first responders in the event of an emergency call, and are asked not to park in front of the bays.
The hotspots are at the following locations:
- St. Joseph Volunteer Fire Department — 11011 St. Joseph Lane, Owensboro
- Knottsville Volunteer Fire Department — 9436 KY 144, Philpot
- Utica Volunteer Fire Department — 146 KY 140 East, Utica
- Stanley Volunteer Fire Department —159 Highway 1554, Owensboro
- Masonville Volunteer Fire Department Station 2 — 10344 Highway 231, Utica
- Yelvington Volunteer Fire Department — 1124 Yelvington Knottsville Road, Maceo
- Moseleyville Volunteer Fire Department — 3741 Ashbyburg Road, Owensboro
“We’re hoping it’s going to help those young people that are going to have to do remote learning, and sometimes some business people who may have to work from home,” said Daviess County Judge-Executive Al Mattingly. “It gives them some semblance of connection to the world that we’ve all become used to.”
Download speeds will vary but can reach up to 25 mbps.
“It doesn’t sound like a lot, but if you don’t have anything it’s a tremendous connection,” Mattingly said.
Daviess County Emergency Management Agency Director Andy Ball said this is a cellular-based service through AT&T.
Ball said content filtering software was installed.
“We wanted to make sure that people weren’t getting on sites they weren’t supposed to be getting on,” he said.
Mattingly gave the credit to Director of Legislative Services David Smith for coming up with the idea and Ball for helping implement it.
“We also could not have done this project without the support of the Daviess County Volunteer Fire Departments,” he added. “These groups are always looking to serve the community and this is another example of that.”
The entire project cost less than $4,000 and will have minimal cost moving forward. Mattingly said that helps ensure the hotspots will remain in place as long as necessary, and there’s an added benefit of not passing on any costs to the community.
“It’s pretty inexpensive considering the impact it will have on the community,” he said. “No one will pay a dime for using this service. This service is here strictly for those folks who are trying to make sure their kids are educated and perhaps work a little bit from home.”