The FCC is putting WiFi in schools, but what about when kids leave for the day? Not all kids have access to the Internet, much less a reliable WiFi connection. Facebook is working on that, and are piloting a program that could see kids get free WiFi access at home.
Facebook operates a data facility in Forest City, North Carolina, which is where this program is being seeded. In cooperation with Rutherford County Schools, Facebook is teaming up with Pangaea, a non-profit company specializing in fiber optic Internet service.
The first stage or this project will cover 75-100 homes, and dovetails into the school’s earlier initiatives. The school district started a 1:1 program prior to this, which was an attempt to get a laptop in the hands of every student in middle or high school. The problem was that students didn’t have Internet once they left school, so much of the utility the laptop provided was lost.
Facebook is rolling this out, starting today, and says they will “work to expand the program to cover more students in the Rutherford County School District”. More than 6,000 students are part of the 1:1 initiative, so it will likely be a slower process than some would like. It’s not clear if Facebook will try this program elsewhere, or is operating this as a community project for a district in need.