Gov. Cooper announces nearly $40 million to connect students, communities to high-speed internet

North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCT) Governor Roy Cooper announced nearly $40 million in funding for NC Student Connect, a new partnership created to address internet connectivity gaps that are a barrier to remote learning for many North Carolina students.

When school resumed in August, superintendents estimated that at least 100,000 students still lacked a reliable internet connection at home. 

“Long before COVID-19, expanding access to high-speed internet has been a top priority for my administration, and this pandemic has made the need even more urgent,” said Governor Cooper. “NC Student Connect will make critical investments in high speed internet access and remote learning that will help students, health care and businesses in our state.”

Many North Carolina students are currently attending school remotely and need reliable internet access to be able to connect with their teachers and access their lessons.

Students who are attending school onsite may also need internet access at home to be able to complete assignments.

NC Student Connect investment includes:

  • $30 million to distribute 100,000 wireless high-speed hot spots for students to connect with their remote learning classes. 
  • $8 million to create accessible sites in convenient locations across the state such as school parking lots, municipal areas, and state parks, museums, and historic sites. These NC Student Connect sites will provide free high-speed internet for students to connect to the Internet to download lessons and complete assignments offline.
  • $2 million for educator professional development, parent training, and student involvement in a spectrum of activities that go into effective remote learning. More than 1,300 educators from rural North Carolina already participated in a virtual conference focused on remote learning to help them be better prepared to teach throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about that conference

Initial private sector investments in remote learning and NC Student Connect include, AT&T, Duke Energy Foundation, Fidelity Investments, Google, Smithfield Foundation, Verizon Foundation, and Wells Fargo Foundation

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