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3 Free WiFi Options for Dallas ISD Families

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By Sujata Dand, Senior Editor and Reporter Dallas, Texas | health care, education, public policy November 25, 2020

Dallas ISD officials have updated the school district’s internet access plan for students, aiming to bridge the digital divide in the city. Here are three free WiFi options for Dallas ISD families to ensure that students have reliable internet access for online learning.

Phase 1: Hot Spots Distributed

District officials have distributed over 40,000 hot spots to students across the Dallas ISD. These hot spots connect to internet service providers such as AT&T, Verizon, or Spectrum, which have fiber or cable infrastructure in Dallas.

Initially, the hot spots had monthly data limits of 10 gigabytes, which led many students to lose access when their data ran out. However, the internet providers have now removed the data caps, allowing students to use unlimited data for their educational needs.

While hot spots may vary in signal strength depending on the internet provider’s infrastructure in a specific area, the district is actively mapping out the neighborhoods to identify areas with the best service. This enables them to swap out devices for students in order to provide the best possible solution.

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Devices Dezavala

Any technical issues with district technology equipment should be reported to the district’s Information Technology (IT) service desk. The IT service desk agents will guide families through basic troubleshooting steps to resolve any issues. If remote troubleshooting is unsuccessful, families will be offered the choice of exchanging the equipment at the school or at one of the district’s repair centers.

Phase 2: Free Wired Subscriptions

For areas where hot spots are not functioning properly due to poor infrastructure, the district plans to offer free wired line subscriptions to families without internet service. Families will be contacted over the next few weeks based on school district data to determine their interest in this option. The aim is to install wired lines in families’ homes by the end of the year.

The first year of service will be covered by the Texas Education Agency, with Dallas ISD covering the second year. This plan is estimated to cost between $5 million to $10 million per year, ensuring that families have internet access for their children’s education.

Phase 3: Creating Infrastructure in High-Need Areas

To further expand internet access, the district is piloting a virtual wireless network plan in five high school attendance zones: Pinkston, Roosevelt, South Oak Cliff, Lincoln, and Spruce. Private wireless networks will extend the broadband signal from a tower at each school to homes within a two-mile radius, providing free internet access to DISD families. Families will receive wireless modems to connect to the high school’s WiFi tower.

The project is expected to take between three to twelve months to become fully operational, but it aims to bring internet access to the areas with the greatest need.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q: How can I report technical issues with district technology equipment?

  • A: Please contact the Information Technology (IT) service desk at 972.925.5630 or online to report any incidents or service requests.

  • Q: What happens if the support agents cannot resolve the issue remotely?

  • A: If remote troubleshooting is unsuccessful, families will be offered the choice to exchange the equipment at the school or at one of the district’s repair centers.

  • Q: How will families without internet service be provided with connectivity?

  • A: Families without functioning hot spots and internet service will be offered free wired line subscriptions, which will be installed in their homes by the end of the year.

Conclusion

Dallas ISD is committed to minimizing the digital divide and ensuring that all students have access to reliable internet for their education. Through the distribution of hot spots, offering free wired subscriptions, and creating infrastructure in high-need areas, the district is working to provide equitable opportunities for online learning. For more information, visit the official Eireview website.

This article was co-published by our media partner, the Dallas Weekly.