Having trouble connecting to the internet? Help around the DC area

With many of the normal avenues for internet connectivity shut down during the ongoing pandemic, several counties in the D.C. region have announced plans to help connect their residents to the internet.

As students scramble to finish out the semester online, many may not have access to the web at the speeds needed to complete their classwork.

Several area school systems are offering mobile internet hot spot devices that students can borrow. And some utilities have offered discounted rates on home internet access for individuals who qualify.

Here’s what local jurisdictions have to offer:


Frederick County

  • County schools distributed hot spots to students who need them. Library branches offer free Wi-Fi that can be accessed from the car if residents need internet access to fill out online forms for a reason such as seeking unemployment benefits. However, visits to library parking lots should be limited due to the state’s ‘stay-at-home’ order

Prince George’s County

  • Prince George’s County Public Schools announced that they would be allocating $2 million to bring internet connectivity to students who do not have access to technology
  • Additionally, Wi-Fi hot spots will be available at several student meal distribution sites
  • PGCPS have asked businesses, nonprofits and faith-based institutions to unlock access to their Wi-Fi during the extent of the pandemic

Montgomery County

  • Montgomery County Public Schools announced Thursday that Lockheed-Martin gifted $20,000 to help the county provide tools to that would aid students with their online educations.



  • Arlington County is offering residents who do not have reliable internet service three free county Wi-Fi hot spots at the Central Library, Columbia Pike Library and Aurora Hills Library parking lots
  • Residents are being asked to remain in their vehicles or maintain a social distance of 6 feet from others while accessing the hot spots
  • Find a full list of public Wi-Fi hot spots here


  • Middle and high school students with Alexandria City Public Schools can check out mobile internet hot spot devices. Learn more about that here

Fauquier County

  • Fauquier County has established four temporary drive-up internet hot spots while the places many people usually visit to access Wi-Fi are closed. Those using the hot spots are being asked to remain inside their cars to reduce exposure to others
  • The following sites already have Wi-Fi hot spots in place:
    • Warrenton Park & Ride, at the intersections of Virginia Route 605 and U.S. Route 29
    • Midland Park & Ride, on Virginia Route 28
    • Warrenton Water Tower parking lot, behind the U.S. Post Office
    • The Warrenton-Fauquier Airport Terminal parking lot
  • Later this week, temporary hot spots will be available at the following locations:
    • The Warrenton Aquatic and Recreation Facility (WARF)
    • Kettle Run High School, in Nokesville
    • Goldmine Park, in Goldvein
    • Orlean Fire Station

Fairfax County

  • Fairfax County Public Schools students may be able to borrow mobile hot spot devices, but they must check with their respective schools
  • Cox is offering low-income families affordable internet service through their Connect2Compete program
  • Free public WiFi is available at county libraries in the parking lots between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. each day. Residents are reminded to stay in their cars. More access points are being considered

Loudoun County

  • Loudoun County is offering new Wi-Fi hot spots for residents near libraries in western Loudoun. The amplified Wi-Fi signals will be available in the parking lots immediately adjacent to the Lovettsville, Middleburg and Purcellville libraries. The name of the network is LibraryWiFi. No password is required, although users will need to click “accept” on the landing page. The Wi-Fi hot spots are expected to be operational Monday, April 13, 2020. Service will be available 24 hours a day. Residents are asked to stay in their vehicles or maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from others
  • Loudoun County Public Schools prioritized the distribution of mobile internet hot spot devices to students in need in grades 3-12. They were available for distribution starting March 23. Learn more about that here

Stafford County

  • The county government is working with the public schools to make Wi-Fi available in the parking lots of some schools. The county will make a notification when the hot spots are active


  • D.C. has a comprehensive public Wi-Fi hot spot map to show where you can get free access in all eight wards
  • More information for how low-income families and seniors can get affordable internet service is available here

WTOP’s Neal Augenstein contributed to this report.

Zeke Hartner

Zeke Hartner is a digital writer/editor who has been with WTOP since 2017. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University’s Political Science program and an avid news junkie.

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