Mountain Line Provides Wi-Fi-Equipped Bus for Community Hotspot Project

With many businesses and schools now operating online, reliable Internet access has become more important than ever before. Those who previously depended on libraries, schools and cafes for free access to Wi-Fi have found it increasingly difficult to stay connected during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last week, Mountain Line, the community bus service operated by the Missoula Urban Transportation District (MUTD) in Montana, USA, teamed up with the First Presbyterian Church Missoula to create a drive-in community Wi-Fi hotspot.

The transportation agency is parking one of its Wi-Fi-equipped electric buses in the church parking lot, providing free Internet access to all those who need it, Monday-Friday, for the foreseeable future.

The Mountain Line Wi-Fi site is currently set up for drive-in traffic only, with users being asked to remain in their vehicles and use their own smart devices, for the health and safety of all users and on-site volunteers.

“Internet access is critical to students, to those looking for work and to all of us trying to stay connected with our family and friends during this pandemic,” said Corey Aldridge, Mountain Line general manager. “In this unprecedented time, when we are asking people to limit travel to essential trips only, we are proud to find new ways to continue serving our community while still supporting physical distancing measures.”

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Taking Education Further

Under normal circumstances Mountain Line provides a free bus service funded by Missoula community partners, helping employees get to work, and students get to school.

Mountain Line is one of a growing number of transportation agencies supporting its local school districts with bus Wi-Fi technology to extend students’ education beyond the classroom.

With the average student spending approximately 50 minutes traveling to and from school per day, a high-quality Internet connection throughout the journey unlocks a significant quantity of additional study time over the course of an academic year.

School districts have reported that installing school bus Wi-Fi can also increase graduation rates by as much as 14%, particularly in deprived areas, where children who do not have access to Wi-Fi at home, can use their travel time as an additional study period.

Icomera is the world’s leading provider of mobile Internet connectivity for public transport. Our platform is the best option for providing a fast, reliable Internet connection to students using their travel time as additional learning time.