Fresno Unified School District working to provide internet access for all families in district

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno Unified estimates 90-94% of its students are ready and equipped for online lessons this year.

But some families are still in need of a long-term solution to the lack of WiFi access at home.

"When you have 74,000 students, that's still a lot of students," says FUSD Chief Technology Officer Kurt Madden."That works out to around 3,000 to 7,500 students."

The district figures it has handed out close to 70,000 laptops to assist students with remote learning.

But students who don't have internet at home will soon have a new option established by the spring semester.

"There's a lot of kids out there that have no type of connection and so this Edunet idea is a private, LTE network," Madden said.

It's the kind of network that keeps cellphones connected. This summer, WiFi-equipped school buses offered assistance to students.

Madden says families can call a district number for tech support or to request a laptop.

"It's taken thousands of phone calls from students that need help getting connected, that have problems with their device working or not working. and that number is (559) 457-3939," Madden said.

Fresno Unified has identified neighborhoods in the southwest and southeast parts of the city as those most in need of internet upgrades.

The pilot program will eventually expand to other neighborhoods.
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