Montana Governor Steve Bullock announces partnership to connect every classroom in the state to high-speed Internet

September 14, 2015

Montana Governor Steve Bullock announced today his commitment to connect every K-12 classroom in the state to high-speed Internet in order to support digital learning and equal opportunities for all Montana students. The Office of the Governor and the Montana Office of Public Instruction have partnered with EducationSuperHighway to bring high-speed broadband to every school in Montana.

The Montana Association of School Superintendents hosted a press conference in Bozeman, MT, at which Governor Bullock, Evan Marwell, Founder and CEO of EducationSuperHighway, Russ Hendrickson, President of Montana Educational Technologists Association, and Dennis Parman, Deputy Superintendent at Montana Office of Public Instruction, discussed the importance of providing equal access to high-speed Internet to each school across Montana, especially in rural areas.

“In order to reach their full potential and enjoy equal opportunity in today’s digital age, all K-12 students in Montana need access to high-speed Internet,” said Governor Bullock. “We are committed to making sure each school – rural or urban, big or small – has equal access to the promise of digital learning.”

In the coming weeks, EducationSuperHighway will work directly with school districts and other stakeholders to assess current broadband status across Montana. The resulting data and insights will be compiled into a report on connectivity that will provide a comprehensive review of broadband challenges and opportunities for K-12 schools. Working closely with Governor’s Office, the Office of Public Instruction, the service provider community, and schools across the state, EducationSuperHighway will use the report’s results to create an action plan that ensures scalable, robust and affordable access to high-speed broadband for all school districts. At the same time, our network experts will begin working with school districts across the state that lack access to high-speed fiber to help them attain fiber connections that are scalable and affordable.

According to our preliminary analysis of FCC E-rate data, up to 160 Montana schools could benefit by upgrading to fiber optic Internet connections, opening up the opportunity to implement digital learning tools in classrooms across the state. We have already begun working closely with district technology leaders in the state, including the Hatton Littman, theDirector of Technology and Communications for Missoula County Public School District.

“Missoula County Public Schools is a forward-thinking, high-achieving school district,” said Littman. “We have been surpassing state goals and benchmarks for years with our teaching and learning. Amazingly, we have been doing it with shockingly low bandwidth. We simply cannot continue operating with 500 elementary students sharing 100 Mbps of bandwidth. We are excited to receive the support of ESH to help us meet new bandwidth targets.”

The EducationSuperHighway team looks forward to helping all schools across Montana upgrade their broadband access to affordable, scalable connectivity that can meet their digital learning needs into the future.