Facebook begins pilot program to bring FREE Wi-Fi to Students’ Homes

It’s not always that Google’s Project Loon will be the only way to get Internet to everyone. Facebook’s new move targets the students who are in need of Wi-Fi, and has come up with an initiative to provide free internet access to about 75 to 100 students’ homes in the coming months.

The pilot program is going alive in North Carolina, where the company’s Foster City Data Center is being operated. The world’s largest social network has partnered with Rutherford County Schools and Pangaea to spread the internet to the students. The announcement was made by Facebook today in a note, which read:

Today we announced that we’re partnering with the Town of Forest City, Rutherford County Schools, and PANGAEA Internet to launch a pilot program to provide free Wi-Fi access to a small number of students in the neighborhood surrounding the Rutherford Opportunity Center (ROC).

We’re hoping this program will build on the school system’s 1:1 initiative, which provides a personal laptop to every middle and high school student in the district. More than 6,000 students have received a laptop so far through that program, but administration officials have found that nearly half of those students don’t have access to the Internet at home. Working together, we want to close that gap – we want all of our students to be able to take full advantage of the 1:1 program and use the Internet both at school and at home.

If the first phase of the pilot – which begins today – is successful, we’ll work to expand the program to cover more students in the Rutherford County School District. If you’re near the ROC, you can test the program now by joining the free “Connect” network. Please send any feedback you have to PANGAEA at staff@e-polk.org.

This program is still very early in its development, and we all have a lot of work to do to build out this network and ensure that it performs well for the students who need it. But we are proud to continue our community outreach efforts and work with partners in Forest City to try to ensure that our students can enjoy all the benefits of connectivity.

While this is encouraging, the company is already working towards a noble project, the Internet.org, which is marching towards bringing internet to people who are yet to get exposed to the virtual life.


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