The American Electric Power Foundation is donating $30,000 to create free, public Wi-Fi hotspots at multiple locations across Appalachian Power’s Virginia service area, including Franklin County.

The hotspots are being put in place especially so that students can easily access education materials and classroom assignments from their laptops, iPads or phones if they don’t have Internet access at home.

“The AEP Foundation has already donated $288,000 in West Virginia, Virginia and Tennessee to support specific COVID-19 relief efforts,” said Chris Beam, Appalachian Power president and COO. “Now we’re looking past the initial donations which were primarily to support food pantries and basic human needs to what else is needed in our communities. Lack of broadband access for students rose to the top.”

Find out more in the upcoming issue of the Smith Mountain Eagle newspaper. Pick up a copy or subscribe at to view the full article in the print and/or e-edition version.

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