The Oak Park Public Library is sticking with its decision to suspend lending out mobile hotspots despite a Massachusetts court order temporarily halting Sprint Corp.’s plan to shut down the WiMAX network used by the hotspots.

“We are staying with our current plan, which is to assess the success of the program and to make a determination about how we’ll resume, especially given that this is just a 90-day injunction,” said Eric Battaglia, the library’s experiences and initiatives manager of digital services. “We made the decision regardless of how this turned out.”

Sprint planned to shut down the outdated broadband network on Nov. 6, but on Nov. 5 a Massachusetts judge ordered Sprint to keep it up for another 90 days. 

Mobile Beacon, a Rhode Island-based nonprofit that supplied the Internet connections the library’s hotspots use, sued Sprint claiming that shutting down the network violated its contract with the telecommunications company.

Sprint aims to move clients like Mobile Beacon to its newer, more advanced LTE network, but has been reluctant to give Mobile Beacon the unlimited data package that it now has on the WiMAX network. 

The Oak Park Public Library began lending the hotpots last winter but ended the program in October because of the impending network shutdown. The Forest Park Public Library and others have resumed lending the hotspots after the injunction was granted. 

“We stand by the decision to keep the hotspots out of circulation because our understanding is that this is only a 90-day injunction, meaning we don’t have an actual solution,” said Jodi Kolo, the Oak Park Public Library’s manager of communication services.

—Bob Skolnik

Join the discussion on social media!