In order to keep schools up to date with those in other states, Kansas is making moves to spread high speed internet to schools throughout the state, a potential $100 million initiative with nonprofit EducationSuperHighway in the works.
More from the Garden City Telegram:
Officials described EducationSuperHighway’s role as providing technical expertise. The organization will coordinate with districts and internet service providers to develop plans for upgrades.
Gov. Sam Brownback said Kansas may have to allocate upward of $10 million toward the program, which he said would come from the Universal Service Fund. The hope is that 80-90 percent of project costs can be paid for through the federal government.
“Our goal is simple: bring digital learning capabilities to every Kansas classroom,” Brownback said. “Technically speaking, that means we need fiber-optic connections to every school. We need Wi-Fi access in every school. We need connectivity that districts can afford.”
EducationSuperHighway aims to provide districts with analysis and technical resources to help with upgrades that are cost-effective. According to the Kansas State Department of Education, the organization’s services will be free.
Kansas is not paying the nonprofit for its services, Brownback said. EducationSuperHighway draws upon a variety of corporate and philanthropic funders, including foundations connected to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
A largely rural state, Kansas faces some of the problems of other states with widespread rural populations, in that service providers do not see money in building the infrastructure necessary to bring high speed internet to far-flung areas. Hopefully this initiative will benefit not only schools, but in the long run, the entire population.