High-speed internet access and streaming video is headed to each Arizona public school, thanks to a $100 million contract awarded Feb. 1 to Qwest Communications.
The contract, approved by the state School Facilities Board, will link a district’s computers to allow for instant communication and the sharing of documents. As part of the contract, Qwest will provide toll-free, 24-hour technical support for at least 18 months after installation.
Putting computers in the schools and creating a computer network system are mandated under Students FIRST (Fair and Immediate Resources for Students Today) legislation.
Although all districts can benefit from the program, it stands to have the most effect in Arizona’s rural districts, said Phil Geiger, executive director of the School Facilities Board.
“This will get them to be part of the ballgame. This will make it all happen,” he told the Arizona Republic.
School districts will find out in a conference later this month how and when the computer networks will be installed.