DISD to build cell towers, provide students with internet access
(DALLAS) Dallas Independent School District (DISD) is building cell towers to help students connect to the internet, reports The Dallas Morning News.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced schools to consider students’ ability to connect to the internet when learning from home. About 17% of public school students in Texas don’t have high speed internet access, and one-third of DISD families surveyed in May reported that they didn’t have a fixed internet service.
DISD came to the conclusion that internet access is needed immediately but would also be needed in the future, post-pandemic, for students to complete assignments off campus.
The district devised a three-part plan, called “Operation Connectivity,” to provide internet hotspots and build cell towers in five neighborhoods where the digital divide is most evident. The towers will boost Wi-Fi networks for DISD families living within a 2-mile radius.
The towers are expected to be at Lincoln High School, H. Grady Spruce High School, Franklin D. Roosevelt High School, L.G. Pinkston High School and South Oak Cliff High School. It will cost DISD $4.5 million to build them, and the services are expected to be operational in the first few months of 2021.
DISD also wants to use state and local funds to help eligible families pay for internet subscriptions for the next two years. DISD families that are economically disadvantaged, don’t have an internet subscription and live within a service area of an approved internet provider could take advantage of this assistance.