State lawmakers are discussing the implementation of new federal money to bolster wireless bandwidth in Kentucky schools.
Over $2 billion dollars will be distributed by the Federal Communications Commission nationwide to shore up broadband networks in schools and libraries.
Amanda Ellis is associate commissioner for the state’s Office of Next Generation Learners and a former school principal. She says expanded broadband access will address complaints over sluggish Internet speeds in schools across the Commonwealth.
“The biggest complaints that we have is ‘we can’t pull things up; we have the equipment and it runs too slow; our kids can’t get online to talk to people about college and career readiness and making connections,'" said Ellis. "So this is an equity piece that goes across the board for everyone.”
She says the money will improve connectivity to wireless devices that can download video lessons for students to watch at home.
“Students have the opportunity to watch videos in the evening, or after school," said Ellis. "And when they go into their classrooms, and their teachers work from what they learned online. That’s not accessible to a lot of people even in the school setting, because it’s not fast enough.”
An FCC official says Kentucky could receive $22 million from the proposal, which would impact many Kentucky schools and about 200 libraries.