WISPA Joins EducationSuperHighway to Help Bring the Internet to At-risk Students

Washington, DC, May 12, 2021 – If you don’t have broadband access, you can’t connect.  To your friends, families, social institutions, communities and the world.  This is especially hard on school children who, because of the pandemic as well as the way most schools teach today, need the internet now more than ever to learn and grow.
WISPA and its member companies are working to boost broadband adoption for those who need it most.  We’re proud to partner with EducationSuperHighway to support its K-12 Bridge to Broadband Program, an innovative new program to get at-risk students connected to the internet for remote learning.
The K-12 Bridge to Broadband Program facilitates partnerships between school districts and companies that want to help students afford broadband connectivity for schooling needs.  School districts safely share student addresses with participating ISPs, who confirm if they can serve related addresses within 10 days.  The school district then issues a Request for Proposal (RFP) to procure connectivity for the students who lack home access. Pilot projects with states and school districts are underway in nine states: California, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Georgia, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Mexico, and New York.
Participating companies simply –
  • Create a “sponsored” offering, providing a discounted service plan for school districts and their at-risk students.
  • Work with school districts to identify which students need service.
  • Agree to a set of eligibility standards.
  • Streamline the amount of information necessary to sign up families.
  • And, protect the privacy of those covered by the program, avoiding targeted marketing to those using the sponsored offerings. 
“WISPs deploy broadband to some of the most isolated and challenged areas of America,” noted Claude Aiken, President and CEO of WISPA.  “But access means little if it does not get adopted by consumers.  At-risk or marginalized communities and individuals face enormous barriers in this regard.  This puts children there at tremendous disadvantage when they can’t get online to remote school or complete assignments via the Internet.  EducationSuperHighway bridges this barrier.  It helps identify those in need and provides an easy process for providers and school districts to get children online and quickly participating in our broadband-driven society.”
“Since the earliest days of the pandemic, our state and school district partners have told us that they can’t connect every student because they don’t know which families are without home broadband,” said CEO and Founder of ESH Evan Marwell. “We are delighted that WISPA has joined the K-12 Bridge to Broadband program and WISPs are providing the data schools need to identify unconnected households and ensure every student has equal access to educational opportunity.”
K-12 Bridge to Broadband Program - Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (wispa.org)

WISPA’s 1000 members are composed of fixed Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs) and the industry that supports fixed wireless broadband, including equipment suppliers, support services, and other components needed to run a successful business. Our members, and WISPs, in general, provide broadband access to millions of residential and business customers, often in exclusively rural areas.
Mike Wendy
About EducationSuperHighway
EducationSuperHighway is the leading non-profit focused on upgrading the Internet access in every public-school classroom in America. We believe that digital learning has the potential to provide all students with equal access to educational opportunity and that every school requires high-speed broadband to make that opportunity a reality. EducationSuperHighway is funded by national philanthropic organizations, including the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and our mission is supported by 49 U.S. governors and America’s leading CEOs. Learn more at educationsuperhighway.org.