High speed internet is coming to all Arkansas schools this fall, and will be in place before the start of the school year.
The state has become a national leader in providing fiber-optic service which will reach 477,268 students from the Ozarks to the Delta. Only a handful of states guarantee high speed service everywhere.
The project is largely funded by the Federal Communications Commission, through the E-Rate program. The Arkansas Department of Information Systems which involves more than 20 telecommunications companies began to participate in the E-Rate program early in 2014, and has improved more than most states.
“Look, Arkansas took a situation where the state was one of the worst in the nation in terms of effectively using the resources that they have, and they’ve turned it into one of the best,” said Evan Marwell, founder of the California-based EducationSuperHighway. “We think that the state has done a terrific job to be quite honest.”
The national movement to connect the nation’s schools with high-speed internet has been tracked by Maxwell’s nonprofit since 2012. It is funded by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.