Why is the County of San Mateo installing free public WiFi spots?

We live in the heart of Silicon Valley, but even in San Mateo County we have a significant digital divide between those with high speed Internet access and those with slow speed or no access. The County believes that providing high speed Internet access is the 21st Century equivalent to building roads. Providing the infrastructure so that all residents have equal access to online resources is critical to supporting our shared vision of a healthy, safe, prosperous, livable, environmentally conscious, and collaborative community.

Where is WiFi available?
How were these WiFi locations chosen?

Locations were chosen based on community feedback, discussions with San Mateo County Supervisors and County leaders, and input from community organizations. In addition to choosing sites that were technically feasible, site selection included one or more of the following criteria: (a) servicing unserved or underserved communities with limited Internet access, (b) supporting educational opportunities, (c) spurring local economic development, and (d) providing greater access to County services.

How do I connect to a public WiFi spot?

From any device WiFi-enabled device (laptop, tablet, phone, watch, etc.), please go to your WiFi settings and select the SMC Public WiFi access point. No password is needed.

How fast is the connection?

The WiFi access points currently support a shared 100 Mbps connection among those devices connected to it at any given time. Each device is limited to 3 Mbps download and 2 Mbps upload.

Am I limited to only connecting the County website and resources?

No! Although you will be taken to the County WiFi page upon first connecting, you are free to browse any website you wish and use any resource on the Internet. You will be required to agree to the County’s Acceptable Use Policy that will remind you must use the WiFi access point for only legal purposes. Naturally, you will also be able to visit the website of the County or any of its departments.

Are my data and connection secure?

Connections to SMC Public WiFi spots have the same level of security as any public connection like those at restaurants or coffee shops. As with any publicly accessible WiFi connection, users are advised against transmitting highly sensitive data such as financial information.

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