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Chicago Plans to Connect 100K Students to High-Speed Internet in $50M Effort

June 29, 2020 / Shawna De La Rosa

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Thursday announced a plan to expand high-speed internet access to 100,000 students in low-income households at a cost of $50 million over four years, paid for in part with federal coronavirus response funds and donations, Chalkbeat reports. The city is working in collaboration on the effort with service providers Comcast and RCN, along with advocacy groups like Kids First Chicago. The first two years of the program will be funded by $5 million in federal coronavirus funds and philanthropic donations that include $750,000 from President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, and the cost of the third and fourth years will be covered by Chicago Public Schools. This spring, the district distributed 100,000 computers in addition to providing mobile hotspots to homeless students, though efforts mostly focused around directing families to a 60-day free internet offer from Comcast. Many students still fell through the cracks, with an April study from Kids F...