Palm Beach County schools to offer free internet access for students

Palm Beach County schools to offer free internet access for students

Bridging the digital divide, more than a year's worth of work is now taking shape for thousands of students and their families.

Leaders from around Palm Beach County gathered Tuesday to discuss progress made in bridging the digital divide for students a critical element for academic success.

In March 2020, parents in the School District of Palm Beach County took a survey. The audit revealed just how many families didn't have reliable internet access. So, the district began mapping families who needed better WiFi throughout the county.

RELATED: School District of Palm Beach County highlights 'life changing' free WiFi expansion project

"We were able to identify where we can make 25,000 students eligible for free WiFi," Adam Miller with the Palm Beach County School District said.

Miller has helped to set up the program.

"It involves putting big radios on county and district buildings and then smaller radios on poles around the neighborhoods, and those put out a WiFi mesh," he said.

Families can connect to WiFi that's password protected.

"Maybe we can help them develop dreams and strive in a way to change their life trajectory of their entire family," Superintendent Dr. Donald Fennoy said.

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Fennoy.PNG

The county has put in $16 million in CARES Act funds, donors have given nearly a million dollars for WiFi extenders and the district has pitched in $22 million for devices for students.

Now, the work is complete and the first student recently took advantage of it.

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