The Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD), the Berkeley Public Schools Fund and ISP Sonic are providing free gigabit connectivity to qualifying students in the school district. The value of the offer could reach $2.9 million.
Households with one or more children in the school district attending grades K-12 that are not currently served by Sonic are covered by the offer. The offer will extend through the end of the school year, which is on July 1.
Sonic Free Gigabit Offer
Sonic and BUSD are looking at ways to provide broadband to low-income families that receive free or reduced lunch through the district beyond July 1.
The telecommunications sector and the government have taken many steps to help families and communities deal with the educational impact of the pandemic, especially for children in the K-12 segment.
“As a community-based business, Sonic is thrilled to work with Berkeley Unified and the Schools Fund to address the lack of affordable connectivity that impacts student learning here in Berkeley,” Sonic CEO and Co-Founder Dane Jasper, said in a press release about the Sonic free gigabit offering.
Here are four other examples of broadband provider educational initiatives amid the COVID-19 pandemic:
In September, the NTCA and USTelecom and their member companies joined the K-12 Bridge to Broadband Program, which is led by the national non-profit EducationSuperhighway (ESH). The initiative, which is modeled after Connected Chicago and similar programs, aims to help students without broadband.
Later in the month, Cox said it would allocate $60 million during the subsequent year to closing what it termed the digital learning gap. The funding was to be made through the company’s Connect2Compete initiative that provides discounted connectivity for low-income families with a K-12 child who participates in a government-assisted program.
In November, Verizon expanded its existing support with the introduction of Teacher Training Pathways and an expansion of coverage of The Verizon Innovative Learning Schools program.
Help also was on the way during the early days of the crisis. For instance, in late March AT&T made a series of announcements that collectively broadened access to connectivity and tools for students, teachers and parents.