Lawmakers pass bill to help Colorado school districts improve internet access


DENVER (KDVR) — The pandemic and remote learning have highlighted the issues that many Colorado families have with a lack of internet access. But on Wednesday, Colorado lawmakers passed a bill that will make $20 million in grants available to districts to improve broadband access.

Also on Wednesday, a group of educators from northern Colorado joined others to look for solutions in the Northern Colorado Internet Access Virtual Summit. The group hopes to make reliable internet access available to all families.

Deirdre Pilch, the superintendent for Greeley-Evans District 6, said five to seven percent of students there do not have access to the internet.  

“We do have some of those homes that there is actually not a provider at those homes. We also have some homes where the hotspot does not work because the cellphone doesn’t work,” she said.

While many districts are working with providers and giving hotspots to families in need, the hotspots don’t work in all locations and that can be an expensive option long-term.

Alan Kaylor, the superintendent at Weld RE-8 School District, said there needs to be an investment in infrastructure.

The group discussed towers, fiber optic lines and changes to regulations.

The education leaders said the option to apply for grants will be helpful, but some said they will need more assistance from the Legislature in 2021.

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