ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) – The Reimagine New York Commission announced on Friday the launch of ConnectED NY. This program is an emergency fund that will provide approximately 50,000 students in economically disadvantaged school districts with free internet access from May 2021 through June 2022.
Funding for this program will be provided by Schmidt Futures and the Ford Foundation. The program will be managed by Digital Promise, a non-profit dedicated to closing the digital learning gap.
“To reimagine education and create real opportunity, every student needs access to the internet,” said Eric Schmidt, Co-Founder of Schmidt Futures and Chair of the Reimagine New York Commission. “The ConnectED NY fund will provide hotspots and data plans for students that need them most. This is a step forward in rebuilding a New York that works for all students, and we’re proud to be a part of it.”
School districts will work with Digital Promise, AT&T, and other internet service providers as needed to identify eligible students who either do not have at-home internet access or do not have access to sufficient broadband speeds to participate in remote learning.
Hotspots and data plans will be purchased directly by the ConnectED NY fund from AT&T, so there is no financial obligation for students and their families. In unique circumstances where students cannot access reliable internet service through a mobile hotspot, fixed internet options will be made available.