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 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.
Note: You need to be within 50 feet of the hotspots or the open public WiFi nodes. Signal strength varies indoors. Contact USI internet support if you are experiencing problems.
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 “Xfinity wifi” network name open your internet browser.
Internet essentials and eligibility
- View information about Comcast Internet Essentials website or call 1-855-846-8376. Online resources and tech support are available in multiple languages.
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
Listing of low cost computer and 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 offers high speed 4G LTE internet service starting at $15.00 per month (mobile hot spot). Plans are prepaid with no credit check or fees. Devices purchased through PCs for People are for recipients who meet eligibility requirements. These devices can not be resold or redistributed to individuals who are not qualified PCs for People customers. Learn more at PCs for People website or call 651-354-2552 for updates.
Cellular providers response to COVID-19
- Visit the AT&T website or call 800-331-0500.
- Visit the T-Mobile’s website or call 1-800-T-MOBILE.
- Visit the Verizon’s website or call 800-922-0204.
- If you have services and offers to add or update, contact 311 to provide the details.
Free wireless hotspots
Minneapolis residents and visitors can access the internet for free from 117 "Wireless Minneapolis" hotspots throughout the city.
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.
Use the online map to find locations.
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: 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.
Contact USI Wireless for more information by calling 952-253-3262 or visiting the USI Wireless website