MeckTech Logo

What is MeckTech Connect?

Charlotte Mecklenburg Library has launched a new home internet service in the West Boulevard Corridor to help close the digital divide. CML partnered with Open Broadband, a local broadband provider targeting underserved communities, to create the network. Open Broadband designed a network that is called a “fixed-wireless solution” and does not involve digging up streets or moving lines on poles.

Who has access to the new internet service?

The pilot network is currently available to over 800 homes near the West Boulevard Library branch. You can search your address on this map to see if your home falls within our initial coverage area. This pilot network will allow us to test and learn so that we can scale to more areas in the West Boulevard Corridor.

Do I have to sign up to use the internet if it is available at my house?

The first time you use the MeckTech Connect network, you will need to enter an email address to confirm your account. You can use this same email address to log-in to the network on your computer, smartphone or smart TV. You will have to accept the Terms of Service before accessing the network. Finally, you will be asked to answer a few questions that will help us understand the technology uses and needs in your household so we can create improved support opportunities.

Will the internet service be free?

Charlotte Mecklenburg Library received financial support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the City of Charlotte which will provide free internet service for 2 years (2022 + 2023). We are collaborating with community members and local organizations to determine how best to sustain a locally-owned and affordable network for the long-term. 

Nothing is ever free! What’s the catch?

We definitely understand your hesitation. There is no catch. The internet service will be free for a minimum of two years. We are working to secure additional funding to extend the free service and will keep you informed about our progress. In the event that we need to collect a fee from users, we will inform you of this change at least 6 months in advance. We are committed to ensuring the internet is affordable and doesn’t have hidden set-up fees or long-term contracts.       

Will my personal information be protected?

Your trust is our priority. We collect minimal information from you on a need to know basis, and store it securely. This ensures we can provide you and your household high-quality, ongoing service with minimal disruption. We will not share or sell your information to any third-party companies, marketers, etc. We will take all reasonable steps to protect your information from unauthorized users. 

Will my internet use be monitored or tracked in any way?

Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and Open Broadband will not be tracking what you do using the internet service, related to the content you search, create or watch.  However, to ensure high-quality service to the whole community, any anomalies in network activity may be investigated and addressed accordingly. In addition, state and federal laws require that we record certain information about users and activity on our network to be able to identify and report any illegal or criminal activities. Please read our full Privacy Policy for more details. 

I was asked to enroll in a research study. What is that for?

We are partnering with UNC Charlotte’s Urban Institute to conduct a study to evaluate the impact of the MeckTech Connect program on your community. Your input helps us understand if access to free home internet benefits your life in specific ways. The feedback helps us improve your MeckTech Connect experience as well as provides information to support future funding of the network. If you choose to participate, you may be asked to periodically participate in digital surveys or interviews. You always have the opportunity to unenroll in the research or opt-out research-related communications. Thank you for helping us learn about your experience.

Help! The internet doesn’t seem to be working. Who do I call?

We are here to help you. Please email us or call us at 704-416-7410. Our support hours of operation are Monday-Thursday 3-7pm or Saturday 1-4pm. Please note, our live support hours may be impacted by Library holidays or closures.

I’m excited to have the internet available at my house, but I don’t have a computer. Can the Library help?

New answer: Yes! Each of the homes in our MeckTech Connect pilot area have the opportunity to receive a free laptop device. All individuals 18+ who are permanent residents of the household are able to apply for a device. The computer belongs to the person from that household who applied for and received the computer. Others may use the device while at the residence/with the device owner, but ownership of the device may not be transferred. We are unable to replace lost, broken or stolen devices. Please note, device quantities are limited and distribution is based on availability at the time of application. Please fill out this application to request your device, and we’ll be in touch.

I have a lot of technology questions and I’d like some additional training on certain computer skills. Can the Library help me with this, too?

Absolutely! We have all kinds of learning opportunities from virtual classes and workshops to 1-on-1 Tech Tutoring sessions. Visit our Digital Literacy page for more information or stop by your local branch and our team can point you in the right direction.