The Pinal County School Office Education Service Agency is pleased to announce it has received $31,549,900.38 through the Schools and Libraries Program (E-Rate) funding. The funds will support the Pinal County Internet Consortium.
The Pinal County School Office Education Service Agency is committed to “Fostering Learning, Achievement and Success” for Pinal County students. The Pinal County Internet Consortium will expand internet access to schools and libraries within Pinal County, giving students and teachers the infrastructure needed to succeed in today’s changing technology driven world. The fiber optics lines installed in this project will increase broadband services for participating locations to 10Gbps. The Pinal County School Office Education Service Agency has partnered with Zayo, a leading fiber network provider with extensive education experience, to complete construction, which will begin immediately.
According to the FCC website, High-speed Internet access, or broadband, is critical to economic opportunity, job creation, education, and civic engagement. But there are too many parts of this country where broadband is unavailable. In urban areas, 97% of Americans have access to high-speed fixed service. In rural areas, that number falls to 65%. And on Tribal Lands, barely 60% have access. All told, nearly 30 million Americans cannot reap the benefits of the digital age.
“Broadband access is the great equalizer, leveling the playing field so that every willing and able student, no matter their situation in life, has access to the information and tools necessary to achieve success,” Jill Broussard, Pinal County School Superintendent.
“With broadband access, we can revolutionize access to education, develop economic empowerment, and generate the delivery of critical human needs,” Peter Lin, IT Manager, Pinal County Schools.
“An increase in broadband access will open up endless possibilities for distance learning tools in professional development, and global collaboration in classrooms. Real time access to information is a must in this digital age,” Joel Villegas, Director, Pinal County Education Service Agency.
Local Libraries and School Districts included are:
Kearny Public Library
Mammoth Public Library
Oracle Public Library
San Manuel Public Library
Superior Public Library
Apache Junction Unified School District
Mammoth- San Manuel Unified School District
Oracle Elementary School District
Ray Unified School District
Superior Unified School District
The schools and libraries universal service support program, commonly known as the E-Rate program, helps schools and libraries to obtain affordable broadband. Discounts for support depend on the level of poverty and whether the school or library is located in an urban or rural area. The discounts range from 20 percent to 90 percent of the costs of eligible services. E-Rate program funding is based on demand up to an annual Commission-established cap of $3.9 billion.
The Pinal County School Office is an education service agency meeting the needs of an ever-changing and complex society through educational and fiscal management and support for local schools and communities. The County School Superintendent, Jill Broussard, and her staff are committed to working cooperatively with local, state and federal entities in identifying the educational needs and serving the educational agencies of the county.