Mesa spends $ 4.5 to expand Internet access for students

City council voted on Monday to dedicate federal aid to building a network of cell towers for families without Internet access.

MESA, Arizona – Editor’s Note: The above video is from an earlier broadcast.

Mesa City Council voted unanimously on Monday to spend $ 4.5 million to expand internet access to local students in the city’s western neighborhoods.

City intends to partner with Mesa Public Schools to use federal funds allocated through the American Rescue Plan Act to build a network of 21 cell radio towers for families without access. broadband.

“To bridge the digital divide experienced by underserved communities of Mesa School students during the COVID-19 pandemic, the city is building broadband internet infrastructure to access students who need it most,” said the city archives.

This five-year contract will provide the hardware for an outdoor 4G LTE cellular network using the Citizens Broadband Radio Service radio band to cover 10 square miles of Mesa West.

The network would primarily affect residents of Municipal Districts 1, 3 and 4, all located west of Val Vista Drive. Up to 2,100 students could benefit from the infrastructure project, according to records.

Arizona communities have attempted to improve internet connectivity in recent years because the pandemic has forced many families to learn and work from home.

A 2020 survey by the Arizona Department of Education shows that 81% of those polled were very concerned about the lack of internet connectivity in their home.

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