Wi-Fi Project Expands Free High Speed Internet Access

Wi-Fi Project Expands Free High Speed Internet Access to Glades Students and Families
Posted on 02/24/2022
Superintendent, Board Members, Dolphins Players

Free high speed internet access is expanding for Glades-area families, thanks to the Municipal Wi-Fi Project. On February 24, about 100 Wi-Fi extenders were distributed to the families of students attending Glade View Elementary School in Belle Glade.

This first-of-its-kind project is a partnership between the School District, Palm Beach County, local municipalities, the Education Foundation of Palm Beach County, and area business partners including the Miami Dolphins Social Impact Committee, Florida Crystals, and more.

Fifth grade student Malaysia, is excited to have reliable, fast internet at home. “It’s going to help me a lot with things, like math, science, and social studies,” she said.

The goal of the Digital Inclusion Initiative is to grant all students access to reliable high speed internet in their homes, regardless of their zip code. In just its first phase, this ambitious project will provide free internet access to more than 25,000 students.

“This project is life changing. It is a game-changer in education and access and I am proud to say, it is happening right here in Palm Beach County,” said Superintendent Mike Burke. “The mission of the School District of Palm Beach County is to educate, affirm, and inspire each student in an equity-embedded school system. What is happening here today is certainly a testament to that.”

Miami Dolphins players were on hand to configure and help distribute Wi-Fi extenders to students at Glade View Elementary.

“It’s not just about school, it’s about life skills. It's about being able to bridge that digital divide, and we’re going to do our part and we’re going to do it in partnership with all of these great organizations,” said Jason Jenkins, Senior Vice President of Communications and Community Affairs for the Miami Dolphins.

“The combined efforts of the Palm Beach County government, the School District of Palm Beach County, and numerous community, business, and philanthropy partners has brought a bold vision to life,” said James Gavrilos, Education Foundation of Palm Beach County president and CEO. “Collectively, we had the ability and the resources to bring our individual dreams to fruition. And when we work together as one community, we are able to bring equity of access to 25,000 families who can now participate in the modern economy, and the modern world of education.”

The project is focused on Wi-Fi hardware being mounted on vertical structures, primarily tall poles donated by FPL, which are being erected throughout densely populated areas where a large number of people have indicated they do not have internet access. All equipment utilized for this project complies with all applicable Federal Communications Commission (FCC) guidelines.

The School District identified the areas to be served with the Wi-Fi mesh network using practical criteria. Robust Geographical Information Systems (GIS) analysis was used to identify areas with the highest concentrations of families reporting that they had no internet access and a high density of Palm Beach County School District students eligible for the National School Lunch Program.

The Wi-Fi Mesh infrastructure is currently focused in a number of municipalities including downtown Belle Glade, South Bay, Pahokee, Lake Worth Beach, and Canal Point.

Family receiving Wi-Fi extender from Miami Dolphins players

The School District of Palm Beach County