A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

AT&T, state Department of Education partner to bring high-speed Internet to all 173 school districts

Today, AT&T announced that all 173 school districts across Kentucky could now boast high-speed, fiber-based connectivity with average bandwidth statewide of more than 480 megabits per second.

This new connectivity exceeds a national benchmark which was set in 2012 by the State Educational Technology Directors Association, according to a press release from AT&T. The Kentucky Department of Education believes that the state is the first state in the nation to meet that national goal, the release stated.

AT&T's Hood Harris

AT&T’s Hood Harris

“This is a tremendous achievement for the commonwealth, and it is a testament to strong leadership in Frankfort and from Commissioner Holliday and David Couch in the Department of Education,” said Hood Harris, president of AT&T in Kentucky. “As the applications for new technologies in the classroom continue to grow, this type of connectivity is essential, and AT&T is proud of our role in bringing these fiber-based services in every county and school district throughout the Commonwealth.”

In response to the increasing use of online assessment tools, the need for video instruction and the rapidly expanding use of connected devices, schools across the country have worked to expand the capacity of their broadband connections.

“This is just another way Kentucky is leading the nation in public education,” Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday said in an earlier announcement from the Department of Education. “Our teachers told us they needed a faster, more reliable system to take advantage of all of the great digital instructional resources and other technology-based education tools and supports that are available. So, I’m glad we were able to meet the need and do what is best for student learning.”

“This is a game-changer for Kentucky’s teachers and students,” said Dr. Jim Evans, Superintendent of Lee County Schools. “At the same time, it is exciting to see these speeds and this type capacity deployed to school districts all across the Commonwealth, whether urban or rural.”

“This is a great example of private industry working closely with state government to meet the needs of the commonwealth, and I am thrilled to know that our schools are leading the way and our students have access to a level of high-speed Internet that is among the best in the nation,” said State Senator David Givens.

“Every day we see a rapidly increasing rate of adoption of high-speed Internet in Kentucky, in our businesses, in our homes, and definitely in our schools,” said State Rep. Rocky Adkins. “This announcement is great for our schools and shows that our business community and our state government are committed to establishing Kentucky’s position as a leader in modern technology.”

Working with various communications providers, with KDE leadership, and with technology staff in each of the school districts across Kentucky, the effort to deploy this connectivity was completed on schedule and in time for the beginning of the school year.

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