Broadband Equity

New Program Promises Internet Access to 50,000 Students

New York state has launched an emergency fund to provide an estimated 50,000 students with free internet access. Funding for "ConnectED NY" will come from philanthropic organizations Schmidt Futures and the Ford Foundation; the program, scheduled to run between May 2021 and June 2022, is being managed by Digital Promise.

The focus of the initiative will be on helping schools in economically poor districts -- those where the percent of students who are economically disadvantaged exceeds the state average. The program will provide free mobile hotspots and monthly data plans, to make available to students who need them. Where the hotspots won't work, the fixed internet options will be offered. Services will be provided by AT&T and other service providers.

"The past year has proven that without consistent and strong internet access, young people can't engage in learning at the level that's needed for success in today's world," said Jean-Claude Brizard, CEO of Digital Promise, in a statement. " We applaud the coming together of this public-private partnership to address inequity for New York's children and youth."

Interested districts can learn more on the ConnectED NY website.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.