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Governor Bullock Celebrates Broadband Progress During Back to School Visit

Bullock, students highlight importance of equipping classrooms with 21st century technology

Thursday, August 29, 2019/Categories: Governor's Office/Tags:

During a back-to-school visit, Governor Steve Bullock today celebrated the progress made in Montana to upgrade school broadband, highlighting the importance of ensuring Montana students receive a 21st century education through classrooms equipped with 21st century technology.

“As a father and as governor, a top priority of mine is making sure that when students walk through their classroom doors, in rural or urban communities, they are receiving the best education possible to prepare for success in the modern economy,” said Governor Bullock. “I’m grateful for our partnerships between EducationSuperHighway, schools, and businesses as we work to connect all of Montana’s classrooms to greater opportunities through 21st century learning.”

During the visit with middle school student ambassadors and educators at West Valley Middle School north of Kalispell, Governor Bullock discussed his efforts to increase access to affordable, high-speed broadband at Montana schools across the state.

Since 2015, Montana has partnered with EducationSuperHighway to increase access to affordable, high-speed broadband at Montana schools. In the past year, 40 Montana schools upgraded to scalable infrastructure, including West Valley School, which installed fiber and doubled their bandwidth. In 2016, West Valley School only had 30 Mbps of internet connection. The school has since upgraded to 200 Mbps.

“Bringing scalable broadband infrastructure to remote and rural communities often poses a major roadblock for classroom connectivity,” said Evan Marwell, founder and CEO of EducationSuperHighway. “Today, we applaud Governor Bullock for his commitment in creating opportunities for schools and students to not only meet the growing demands of technology but to thrive through the use of digital learning.”

Since partnering with EducationSuperHighway beginning in 2015:

  • Fiber access is expanding: over 60% of Montana schools have upgraded to fiber. 450 Montana schools now have scalable infrastructure and only 62 schools still need to be upgraded to scalable infrastructure.
  • Demand is growing: median bandwidth speeds have increased by nearly 5 times.  
  • Cost is decreasing: the median price of bandwidth has decreased by 76% from $10.00 per Mbps to $2.40 per Mbps.
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