Rural schools in Arizona could get new broadband service. In January, the Arizona Department of Education will make it possible for schools to sign up for broadband internet access with high enough speeds to enable distance learning.
Arizona’s Department of Education will be holding events on January 7 and 11 to help schools that want to sign up get connected. According to local officials, the goal is to improve local networks and enable services like distance learning, speech therapy, and telemedicine.
The state will be using a $3 million budget allocation and part of Arizona’s Universal Service Fund to expand broadband to rural schools.
The opportunity to sign up for new broadband service will only be available in 2018 – so schools will have to act fast.
According to the Arizona Broadband Initiative, only 23 percent of school districts meet national affordability standards for broadband access. That statistic puts Arizona behind several states in terms of broadband availability. The Initiative says it plans to use a combination of state funding and federal E-Rate funding to support the expansion as well as efforts to bring costs down.