Wireless Minneapolis during Coronavirus
The City of Minneapolis is unique because we have an outdoor wireless network that covers nearly 100% of our City. The wireless network allows the City to serve its residents and businesses and provides a level of convenience and connectedness to the people who live, work and play in Minneapolis.
Review the list of providers below to see what they are doing to help provide internet access due to coronavirus (COVID-19).
Internet Providers Response to COVID-19
USI Wireless Internet is a local internet service company that is known for its low-cost options. Although it is listed as “City of Minneapolis WiFi,” the City is not the internet provider but rather a client just like many businesses and residents. We are aware that the coverage USI Wireless offers is weak in some areas, yet it is one of the offerings available to Minneapolis residents.
USI opened their WiFi network in Minneapolis for those that may need temporary internet access.
- Look for the “City of Minneapolis Public WiFi” or “USI Wireless” networks on your mobile device and you will be connected. The process is similar to using Wi-Fi at a coffee shop or the airport.
- No password or credit card is required to sign in.
- No social security number or personal information required.
- Contact USI Internet support for more information or to get help over the phone.
Comcast opened their Xfinity WiFi network and is offering unlimited data for free during coronavirus stay at home.
- For a map of Xfinity WiFi hotspots, visit www.xfinity.com/wifi. Once at a hotspot, select the “xfinitywifi” network name open your internet browser.
Internet Essentials & Eligibility
- New Internet Essentials customers will receive two free months of Internet service if you apply by June 30, 2020. After the promotion period regular rates apply (currently at $9.95 per month).
- View information about Internet Essentials. Online resources and tech support are available in multiple languages.
- Households with outstanding debt owed to Comcast - may be eligible for Internet Essentials. Comcast is waiving this qualification based on specific application date. Use the link below for the most current information.
- Households qualify who are eligible for public assistance programs - if you are not an existing Xfinity internet customer, and have not subscribed to Comcast internet within the last 90 day may qualify for special pricing.
- Learn more at the Comcast Internet Essentials website or call 1-855-846-8376.
Assistance for College/University Students
- Comcast is offering eligible university students who live in their service areas and need internet service a $150 Visa prepaid card upon sign-up to help keep them connected. There are no upfront fees or installation costs, and it’s easy to purchase online and receive a kit to set up service yourself.
- To confirm eligibility and sign up, visit https://www.xfinity.com/student. This offer is available through June 1 to college students who live in households in our service area that are not already Xfinity customers.
Standard Internet Packages
- Learn more about the additional Comcast/Xfinity services in Minneapolis at the Comcast/Xfinity website.
Refer to Comcast's COVID-19 resources for additional details and how to get help.
Additional Internet Resources
Lifeline Support for Affordable Communications
- See if you are eligible at Lifeline Support Program website or call 1-888-225-5322.
- Lifeline typically provides up to a $9.25 monthly discount on service for eligible low-income subscribers. Subscribers may receive a Lifeline discount on either a wireline or a wireless service, but they may not receive a discount on both services at the same time. Lifeline also supports broadband internet access service and broadband-voice bundles. FCC rules prohibit more than one Lifeline service per household.
Century Link offers DSL internet services.
- A CenturyLink provided modem may be required; lease is up to an additional $15 monthly fee.
- Service can qualify for Lifeline discount of $9.95 per month for eligible households.
- Learn more at the CenturyLink website or call 866-963-6665.
PCs for People
- PCs for People mobile hot spots are temporarily out of stock - check the PCs for People website or call 651-354-2552 for updates.
- PCs for People offers high speed 4G LTE internet service starting at $15.00 per month. Plans are prepaid with no credit check or fees. Devices purchased through PCs for People are for recipients who meet our eligibility requirements only. These devices can not be resold or redistributed to individuals who are not qualified PCs for People customers.
Cellular Providers Response to COVID-19
- Automatically increasing data allowances on select plans.
- Providing additional mobile hot spot data allowances on smartphones & tablets.
- Through June 30, 2020, for residential or small business customers who notify us that they are unable to pay their bills due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, AT&T will:
- Not terminate any postpaid wireless, home phone or broadband residential or small business account.
- Waive any late payment fees for postpaid wireless, home phone or broadband residential or small business, U-verse TV or DIRECTV customer.
- Waive domestic postpaid wireless plan overage charges for data, voice or text for residential or small business wireless customers.
- Keep AT&T public Wi-Fi hotspots open for anyone who needs them.
- Learn more at the AT&T website or call 800-331-0500.
- Providing Unlimited data for 60 days to customers with metered data plans (effective 3/18)
- Giving 20 GB of free mobile hotspot to customers with hotspot-capable devices (effective 3/18)
- Waiving per-minute toll charges for international long-distance calls from the U.S. to CDC- defined Level 3 countries (effective 3/17)
- Waiving of late payment fees and service interruption for customers that self-identify as financially impacted by the COVID-19 situation.
- Learn more at Sprint’s website or call 888-211-4727.
- Note that Sprint has joined T-Mobile for shared network services.
- Offering a new smartphone plan to help ensure everyone has an affordable option to get and stay connected during these challenging times. This T-Mobile Connect plan is $15 per month and includes Unlimited Talk, Unlimited Text, and 2GB of High Speed data per month.
- Providing unlimited data for selected smartphone plans, and an additional 20GB for smartphone mobile hotspots. Check plans for details via the link or phone number below.
- Learn more at T-Mobile’s website or call 1-800-T-MOBILE.
- Providing 15GB of additional data across most device and service platforms, including hotspot and jetpacks.
- Offering protection from late fees and service termination for customers who are experiencing hardship because of COVID-19 and cannot pay their bill in full.
- Learn more at Verizon’s website or call 800-922-0204.
- If you have services and offers to add or update, please Contact 311 to provide the details.
- View of list of the impact to City of Minneapolis services and how they are responding to COVID-19
Free Wireless Hotspots
These hotspots are one of the many community benefits that resulted from the City of Minneapolis’ contract with USI Wireless, the company that built the wireless network blanketing the entire city.
You can also look for signs which are installed at hot spot locations, or look for the wireless network connection called "USIW Free WiFi" with your computer or wireless internet capable-device. A credit card number is required to log in for security purposes but there is no charge.
The Civic Garden
The Civic Garden provides free internet access to useful, public sector information. No commercial or partisan websites are included, and many of the websites reflect city, county, and state resources. All Civic Garden sites are family-friendly. There is a collection of specific websites published in Hmong, Somali and Spanish. Try the Civic Garden by connecting to the wireless networks called “USI Wireless” or “City of Minneapolis Public WiFi “
Public Computer Access: Find a Community Technology Center in your area using the Get Connected resources list on the Digital Inclusion website. Many locations in Minneapolis offer free use of computers, internet, software, and often provide help and instruction. Sites include public libraries, some government agencies, and many community-based organizations. Programs and hours vary, so contact the site for details.
About Wireless Minneapolis
In 2006, the City of Minneapolis signed a 10-year contract with USI Wireless of Minnetonka to provide Minneapolis with cutting-edge broadband technology. USI Wireless is a private company that owns, builds and manages the wireless network.
The wireless network covers all 59 square miles of Minneapolis providing residents, businesses and visitors with wireless broadband access anywhere in the City. The network will allow the City to deliver services more efficiently and effectively than ever before. The wireless contract also includes benefits to the community such as the free hot spots and free accounts for community technology training locations.
Should you have questions about the service, or require technical assistance, please contact USI Wireless at 952-253-3262 or visit the USI Wireless website .
Last updated May 27, 2020