FPL donates 1,000 utility poles

FPL Donates Utility Poles to Help Provide Internet Access to Students
Posted on 12/01/2020
Truck carrying utility poles

Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) is continuing its longstanding support of education by donating 1,000 utility poles to Palm Beach County. The contribution will help the School District ensure that more than 25,000 students and their families have access to the internet during this time of distance learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The County will begin installing the poles in December.

“Access to education for every child during this time of distance learning is really critical. These poles will help gain access into communities where there are gaps,” said Pam Rauch, Vice President for External Affairs and Economic Development for FPL. “At FPL, we are so thrilled that we can play a part to ensure this technology reaches the communities that need it the most.”

The utility poles are equipped with solar-powered Wi-Fi and will help the District install access points in neighborhoods, with 90 schools identified as launch points. FPL’s donation will leverage existing and new infrastructure, providing a cost savings to the County of nearly $500,000.

“Businesses working with public entities to overcome a difficult situation is one of the positive outcomes from this pandemic,” said County Administrator Verdenia Baker. “I am really proud of this partnership we have developed with FPL.”

One of the issues amplified by the pandemic is the digital divide, a gap in access to broadband and high-speed internet for students residing in low-income areas. With the continued existence of virtual learning as communities slowly open back up and schools transition to modified in-person instruction, the need to access technology is greater than ever. 

This donation will help to ensure all students in Palm Beach County have the ability to complete their schooling and be successful,” said Superintendent Donald E. Fennoy II, Ed.D. “Our efforts to strengthen broadband and infrastructure will last well beyond this pandemic, for future generations of students.”

Since the beginning of the pandemic, FPL, its sister NextEra Energy companies, and its employees have donated nearly $5 million in emergency funding to partner organizations on the frontlines providing assistance to those affected by COVID-19.

The School District of Palm Beach County