Family Technology Information: Internet Access

Need Help Getting Online?

Updated 8/20/2021

For students who borrowed hotspots during distance learning, those devices now belong to the schools they are attending in Fall 2021. Your school site will provide details about how it is specifically managing, collecting, and distributing devices.

All students who did not return to SFUSD for the 2021-2022 school year must return their borrowed hotspots and charging cables, if they have not already done so. Unreturned devices will be deactivated and will be a lost resource for the school.

 

District Hotspots and Other Options

How to Request a Hotspot

Hotspots are provided 1 per household, as one hotspot supports up to 5 devices. 

To request or exchange a hotspot for homework purposes, contact your child’s school. The school may ask you to complete the Online Technology Request Form available in ParentVUE. To do so, families must have an active Family Portal (ParentVUE) account.

  • If you haven’t activated yet, please contact your school site for an activation key and follow the steps. You can activate your ParentVUE account at sfusd.edu/activate.
  • Login to your ParentVUE account at portal.sfusd.edu and click on “Online Forms.”
  • You can find step-by-step instructions for completing the Online Technology Request Form and a recorded video example at bit.ly/SFUSDtechrequestguide.

All students and families who borrow SFUSD technology must abide by the Technology User Agreement. Violations of the agreement may result in disciplinary action or a discontinuation of technology access.

 

How to Use a Hotspot

If you are an SFUSD student who received a district-issued hotspot: 

Additional Information

  • There is no data limit on the hotspot. 
  • Internet service through a hotspot is reliant on cellular coverage. Many factors can impact the speed and quality of internet service on a hotspot. SFUSD has limited capacity to troubleshoot wifi connectivity issues with hotspots.
  • All students and families who borrow SFUSD technology must abide by the Technology User Agreement. Violations of the agreement may result in disciplinary action or a discontinuation of technology access

Other Free/Low-Cost Internet Options

Hotspots use a cellular signal to provide Internet and might not be effective in every SF neighborhood. If your cell phone coverage at home is too weak, a hotspot probably won’t provide a good internet connection for you. Other internet options exist.

Free Fiber-to-Housing Program

If you live in a San Francisco public housing community, you may have access to free Internet/WiFi. Please visit the City’s Fiber to Housing Program website to learn more about Internet/WiFi availability in your community.

Additional Low-Cost Options

Several internet providers have low-cost offerings.  The options listed below are provided for informational purposes and are not endorsed by SFUSD. Families can also search for low-cost internet options in their neighborhood at EveryoneOn.org.

These options are among those currently available:

Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB)

The Federal Communications Commission has launched a temporary program to help families and households struggling to afford Internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) provides a discount of up to $50 per month toward broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers.

You can learn more about the benefit, including eligibility and enrollment information, by visiting  www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit, or by calling 833-511-0311.

The application to the Emergency Broadband program will verify your eligibility and put your name on a list of qualifying participants which participating local internet providers will have access to. The name used on the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) application must match the name used to sign up for the Internet service. New and existing internet service customers may apply for the Emergency Broadband credit.

Option 1:

Go to GetEmergencyBroadband.org to apply online and to find participating providers near you. English and Spanish online forms are available.

Option 2:

Call 833-511-0311 for a mail-in application or print an application in EnglishArabicChinese SimplifiedFrenchKoreanPortuguese BrazilRussianSpanishTagalog, or Vietnamese.

 

Mail the application along with copies of documents showing proof of eligibility to:

Emergency Broadband Support Center

P.O. Box 7081

London, KY 40742


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The most common providers in San Francisco are AT&T and Comcast.

  • For AT&T call 866-986-0963
  • For Comcast Xfinity call 1-800-934-6489 or login to your Xfinity portal and complete this form.

You may use the EBB search tool to find other local internet service providers that offers Emergency Broadband Benefit credit.

How long will the Emergency Broadband Benefit program last?

The Emergency Broadband Benefit is an emergency program developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will end once the program funds are exhausted, or six months after the Department of Health and Human Services declares an end to the pandemic, whichever comes first.

How will I know the Emergency Broadband Benefit program is ending?

Your participating provider must give you notice about the last date or billing cycle that the full benefit will apply to your bill and the date or billing cycle that a partial benefit will apply to your bill, in addition to information about the cost of your broadband service after the program ends.

What if the program funding runs out during my monthly billing cycle?

The end of the program may not be timed to your billing cycle for service. This may result in you receiving less than the full monthly service discount in the final month of the program. In the event that you might receive a partial benefit in the last month of the program, your participating provider must receive your permission before they can charge you an amount higher than what you would pay if the full Emergency Broadband Benefit is applied to your broadband bill. In other words, if you were receiving a $50 discount off of your broadband bill, but based on the available funds in the program, there is only enough to provide you with a $40 discount, your provider must have your permission to charge you the additional $10.

Can I continue to receive broadband service when the Emergency Broadband Benefit program ends?

Households will need to opt-in or request to continue broadband services with their provider. If you don’t opt-in or select a new service plan with your provider, your broadband service will end once the program ends. Even if you had service with the same provider before enrolling in the Emergency Broadband Benefit, you will need to opt-in to continue broadband services after the program ends.

Will I be charged for service when the Emergency Broadband Benefit program ends?

Yes, if you agree to continue receiving service from your provider.

Click on your language to see more frequently asked questions:

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Important Verizon Hotspot Announcement: Recall and Exchanges

Important Verizon Hotspot Announcement: Recall Updates

Following a recall announcement of the Verizon Ellipsis Jetpack Hotspot (pictured below) by Verizon and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, SFUSD offered in-person exchange options between April 23rd and April 30th.

Verizon Ellipsis Jetpack Hotspot

As of June 3, 2021, all remaining Verizon Ellipsis Jetpacks have been disconnected. Those hotspots will no longer provide access to the internet, and should no longer be powered on and charged. 

If you still have a deactivated hotspot, please return it to the collection dropbox in the lobby of the SFUSD Central Office (555 Franklin St, San Francisco, CA 94110) between 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday.

If you received a replacement Orbic hotspot, you can find out how to view your Orbic hotspot's WiFi network name and password

If you have any questions or concerns please contact the SFUSD Student Family School Resource Link by emailing familylink@sfusd.edu or calling 415-340-1716