Saturday, May 21, 2022

Play

The election fraud movement resurfaces on the campaign trail, Vice President Harris and abortion providers discuss an action plan, and as New Mexico's wildfires rage, nearby states face high fire danger.

Play

Pennsylvania's Republican U.S. Senate Primary still too close to call, a $40 billion Ukraine aid bill is headed to President Biden's desk, and Oklahoma passes the strictest abortion bill in the country.

Play

From off-Broadway to West Virginia: the stories of the deadly Upper Big Branch mine explosion, baby formula is on its way back to grocery shelves, and federal funds will combat consolidation in meatpacking.

Broadband Infrastructure Improvements Would Boost AZ's Rural Schools

Play

Thursday, December 9, 2021   

COTTONWOOD, Ariz. - The Bipartisan Infrastructure Act passed by Congress contains $65 billion aimed at giving every American affordable access to broadband internet service.

Nowhere is the need more pronounced than in small, rural towns in Arizona and elsewhere, where reliable internet is often almost non-existent.

During the pandemic, rural schools in Arizona scrambled to develop online classes, but many students struggled to keep up.

Wes Brownfield, executive director of the Arizona Rural Schools Association said schools in the country, with students spread far and wide, should be first in line for improved access to broadband.

"We knew this avalanche of money would be coming our way," said Brownfield. "But we were concerned that the big broadband infrastructure conduit down the highways to everywhere would overshadow rural communities, where you need to connect a few kids at a time."

The Biden administration found that more than 30 million Americans live in areas where there is no affordable access to broadband. A study by the global Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that the U.S. has the second highest broadband costs in the developed world.

Brownfield said he is concerned that building a rural internet system using fiberoptic cables could take too long, adding that a Wi-Fi system might be quicker. He said during the pandemic, rural schools have struggled to meet their students' needs.

"You had people putting Wi-Fi on buses," said Brownfield. "You had people using the Wi-Fi at the school in parking. You had a host of well-intended but not terribly effective remedies."

He said rural teachers and administrators learned a lot developing a long-distance learning systems on the fly and will be better prepared if students are sent home for classes again.

"We've developed very good systems for student collaboration," said Brownfield. "Teachers now know how to do it. They know its advantages, and they know its limitations. And the limitation is you don't get the personal interaction with the kids."

The bill also specifies that companies rebuilding the rural internet system employ highly trained and qualified technicians to ensure that the system is high-quality and reliable.


get more stories like this via email
Over the past two years, pro-democracy groups say more than 30 states have proposed nearly 230 laws viewed as an attempt to undermine elections. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Examples of proposed policies and candidates tied to false claims of election fraud have spread to Minnesota, and a new national report found the …


Environment

New Mexico continues to battle the largest wildfires in its history, and other states including Nevada, along with parts of Arizona and Colorado…

Social Issues

A new museum exhibition in Baltimore opening to the public today aims to tell the story of Maryland's fight for civil rights, both in the past and …


The Federation of Virginia Food Banks' seven regional food banks distributed approximately 165 million pounds of food in 2021. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Virginia's food banks are facing a perfect storm of issues. High inflation for everyday goods is driving up food costs for lower-income families…

Health and Wellness

Vice President Kamala Harris met with abortion providers from Missouri and other restrictive states Thursday to consider ways the Biden administration…

The fatality rate for Black bike riders is 30% higher than for white bike riders, according to the League of American Bicyclists. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

Today is National Bike to Work Day, and while it may sound "easier said than done," it may not be as daunting as you think. Enthusiasts said the …

Environment

Connecticut is celebrating its first estuary reserve, which will help identify environmental threats to waterways and natural resources. …

Health and Wellness

A new report urges states to take steps to minimize Medicaid coverage loss when the state of emergency for the pandemic comes to an end. COVID …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021