On June 25, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot launched Chicago Connected, a program designed to provide free, high-speed internet access to the households of Chicago Public School (CPS) students.
According to a press release, “approximately 100,000” high school students will benefit from the program.
“Reliable, high-speed internet is one of the most powerful equalizers when it comes to accessing information,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “It allows families to access digital remote learning and stay connected to family near and far, especially during COVID-19. It allows families to build career skills, apply for jobs, register to vote and stay up-to-date on current events. This program is a critical component of our STEP agenda and the efforts to end poverty and a part of our mission to drive improved academic outcomes at CPS.”
Companies that are participating in the program include Comcast and RCN, which will host the internet plans; and T-Mobile, which currently provides hotspots to Students in Temporary Living Situations. Additionally, T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon are also helping develop potential solutions in areas where traditional “wired” access is not a viable option.
Chicago Connected will cover the expense of supplying the households by “directly paying for internet service for families that are most in need, using six priority indicators and data from Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to identify eligible households for the initiative,” the release continued.
"In 2020, giving young people access to the internet is necessary to provide them access to the classroom,” said 36th Ward Alderman Gilbert Villegas. “This is an awesome next step, and I feel confident that students, parents and teachers will see the result when school starts in the fall."
To read the full release, click here.