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Learn how states and school districts can
purchase broadband for unconnected students
Effective remote learning starts with a home Internet connection and a dedicated learning device for every student. That’s why many school districts and states have decided that they need to provide wired or wireless Internet connections to students who are not connected at home. But, the first step is identifying which students need to be connected.
Partnerships with Internet Service Providers are helping to quickly answer this question. In partnership with EducationSuperHighway, regional and national internet service providers are launching programs to codify this model through the K-12 Bridge to Broadband initiative.
With data sharing agreements in place, school districts or states simply share student addresses with their local Internet Service Providers, who will confirm if they currently serve this address and if they can serve the address within 10 days. A Request for Proposal (RFP) is then issued to procure wired or wireless Internet connections for the students without home access, streamlining the process of providing a cost-effective and reliable high-speed broadband connection for remote learning. By covering the cost of the service, school districts, states, and their partners remove the financial burden from families.
This type of agreement can occur after a school district determines which families lack Internet, or when a school district partners with providers in their area to initiate a data exchange in order to understand which families lack Internet.
Every sponsored service offering may have their own requirements (for example, a minimum contract length or a minimum number of users), so a diligent vetting of contract agreements and service terms is always recommended.
Some sponsored service offerings have specific eligibility criteria, the most common criteria being that families be eligible for at least one public assistance program, such as the National School Lunch Program, housing assistance, Medicaid, SNAP, or SSI.
After determining eligibility, procurement leads can share a unique promo code provided by Comcast with qualified families to use on their application during the sign-up process.
The procurement leads code, once validated, will ensure that the approved family’s Internet Essentials billing will be pushed to the procurement lead account.
For example, if Comcast is your sponsored service provider, procurement leads share a unique promo code provided by Comcast with qualified families to use on a required application they fill out in order to sign-up. The promo code, once validated, will ensure that the approved family’s billing will be pushed to the procurement lead account. Families receive a self-installation kit after their application is approved.
If you are working with Spectrum, families do not need to complete an application to receive service. As long as they are on the list of addresses provided in the order to Spectrum, they will receive a package containing the necessary equipment to self-install and begin using their Internet service.
It’s likely that other ISPs have their own unique processes required to manage the sign-up process for families. Work closely with your chosen provider to ensure the process is as simple and minimally invasive as possible.
In many cases, ISPs will offer to have self-installation kits shipped directly to each family, but delivery times may vary depending on availability and location. The process to install equipment usually doesn’t require more than finding a location in the home with an electrical outlet to plug in the modem device.