This guide provides high-level information about cellular hotspots, or “MiFi” devices, that schools, colleges, and libraries may procure for their students and patrons. Connecting learners of all ages to the Internet has become a top priority as institutions shift to remote or blended learning. Now more than ever, access to the Internet means access to learning.

Commercial providers of hotspots have a range of costs, features, terms, and other program features that decision makers may find difficult to assess and compare against those of other companies, in order to make the best investment for their students and communities. The guide below provides schools, libraries, and universities with a standard set of criteria through which they can compare the hotspot programs of different companies. Members of the education community and providers may e-mail with comments, suggestions, and updates, as information about programs may change over time.


While hotspot programs may vary across providers, schools and libraries should assess the following features and benefits when considering their technology investments.


Does the provider have adequate stock of the required hotspot devices? If not, how long will it take to procure the devices, and at what quantity? In the case of lost or stolen devices, how long will it take to replace hotspots?

Content and Filtering 

Content and Filtering
Does the provider throttle or block content providers? If so, which, and why? Does the company provide filtering that supports compliance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA)? If so, what controls does the provider allow institutions to control or update definitions, override blocked sites, and control other aspects of filtering?


What does the provider charge per device per month or other recurring term? How long is the commitment (e.g., 12 or 24 months)? Are there overages if devices exceed their allotted data limits? Does the company charge any one-time account setup fees? Is there a device purchase or lease fee separate from the data-usage fee? Is there an early-termination fee, and under what conditions (e.g., service delivered not as promised)? Does the provider allow for the suspension of accounts over the summer months?

Coverage Map 

What areas does the service cover? Does the provider have an interactive, updated map that details coverage to the level of neighborhoods and streets? How does service vary depending on geography (e.g., rural settings with trees and hills versus densely populated urban areas)? Do speeds and availability of technology (e.g., 4G, 5G) vary by neighborhood? Does the provider crowdsource anonymous usage data to improve coverage map accuracy? If students and patrons travel, does the provider have a regional or national coverage map? Do speeds match those of all other customers that the provider services?


Data and Service
What are the per-device or aggregate data limits, and by what term (e.g., weekly, monthly, etc.)? Provide costs for different options, if available. Does the plan throttle the speed of all customers across a collective data cap, or only those who exceed per-device caps? Does the provider offer pooling of data across devices? Do end users and institution program administrators receive notifications when they approach monthly or other caps? Does the provider offer the ability to monitor abnormal or prohibited usage and report such incidents to the institution?

 Device Management

Device Management
What oversight and controls does the company provide to the school, college, or library to monitor usage and location of devices? What features allow for identifying the location of and the remote disabling of lost or stolen devices? What other mobile device management features does the program offer? Does the company also offer regional or statewide or regional anonymous analytics on student usage to provide insights on resources used, geographic areas of greatest need, etc.?


What data does the provider collect from users? What tools, technologies, and procedures protect individual privacy and data? Does the provider sell usage data to third parties? If so, who and why? Can institutions opt out of these practices? Does the provider comply with FERPA, FedRAMP, SOC 2 Type 2, and ISO 27001 laws and standards? What manufacturer(s) does the provider use for the proposed devices? Are there concerns about the privacy of data accessed by these providers?


Which IEEE 802.11 standard (a, b, g, n, ac, ax) do program devices use?  What types of security prevent unauthorized users from accessing hotspots? How many devices can a single hotspot support? What carrier network(s) do devices use?


A number of companies offer volume purchase and lease of mobile hotspots to Connecticut schools, libraries, and colleges. The following list can provide a starting point for institutions interested in MiFi programs.

Company Contact Coverage Map
AT&T Karen Vaccaro
(401) 683-8243
AT&T Coverage

Michael Flood
(240) 482-3502

Varies by Carrier
Sprint Bennett Rudomen
(617) 839-6674
Sprint Coverage
T-Mobile Henry Novelo
(203) 909-1005
T-Mobile Coverage
Verizon  Todd Gagliardi
(203) 914-5646
Verizon Coverage

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