FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 12, 2017


Success in First Year of Kids Link Colorado:
Better Broadband & Cost Savings for Rural School Districts


DENVER, Colo.— One year after the launch of Kids Link Colorado, rural school districts are seeing huge improvement in their broadband coverage and major cost savings.

Kids Link Colorado is a partnership between the Office of the Governor, the Governor’s Office of Information Technology, and EducationSuperHighway, the nation’s leading nonprofit focused on upgrading internet access in every public school classroom in America. The program was launched in September 2016.

With help from Kids Link Colorado this past year, the Julesburg school district increased its broadband bandwidth 200 percent, bringing its students high-speed internet while decreasing the district’s monthly bill by $1,400.

“What a difference faster internet speeds have on the entire school district,” said Governor John Hickenlooper. “Everyone benefits! Students have an easier time doing research and homework. Teachers can bring fresh and new lessons into the classroom. All of this while the district saves money. It’s great to see schools in parts of rural Colorado match the internet bandwidth of some of our larger cities.”

Kids Link Colorado has enabled school districts to leverage their buying power and ensure they are getting the maximum broadband capability for the least amount of money. So far 39 districts in Colorado have been able to take advantage of Kids Link Colorado’s efforts and the hope is that even more rural districts will be helped in 2018.

While more than 1,300 schools across Colorado currently have fiber infrastructure, 46 schools remain to be connected, with most of those in rural and small town communities. Fortunately, school districts and charter schools can now apply for state match funding through the Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) grant to help cover some of the costs of special construction projects.

“We are thrilled to be working with state and school district leaders across Colorado to continue to build on the great progress being made to close the school connectivity gap,” said Evan Marwell, Founder and CEO of EducationSuperHighway. “We commend the Governor’s commitment to ensuring that every student in Colorado has the high-speed connectivity necessary to take advantage of the opportunities that technology has to offer."

According to EducationSuperHighway, the United States continues to make extraordinary progress in narrowing the K-12 digital divide. Overall, 39.2 million students, 2.6 million teachers, and 73.9 thousand schools are now achieving the minimum connectivity goal that gives students equal access to digital learning opportunities. However, 6.5 million students are on the other side of the digital divide without access to high-speed internet. This gap is particularly wide in the 1,587 rural K-12 schools that don’t yet have the infrastructure necessary to revolutionize the way teachers teach and students learn.

Please view this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJ_iwwQ74vI) highlighting Kids Link Colorado’s successes from the past year. For an interview with the Executive Director of the Colorado Broadband Office, Tony Neal-Graves, regarding Kids Link Colorado, please contact Tauna Lockhart at tauna.lockhart@state.co.us.

### 

About the Governor’s Office of Information Technology

The Colorado Governor's Office of Information Technology (OIT) is responsible for the operation and delivery of information and communications technology services and innovation across the Executive Branch agencies in the State of Colorado. OIT drives innovative technology solutions, provides quality service, and supports the agencies whose missions are so critical to serving Coloradans. We do this by overseeing technology initiatives at the state level, recommending strategies and maximizing efficiencies of service delivery in a cost-effective manner through the application of enterprise technology solutions. Our enterprise approach also enables the agile delivery of new applications to state agencies that improve citizen access to government services while increasing accountability and transparency.

Find OIT online at colorado.gov/oit, on the #StateofCO IT blog, and on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
 
About EducationSuperHighway

EducationSuperHighway is the leading non-profit focused on upgrading the Internet access in every public school classroom in America. We catalyze federal and state action on K-12 broadband initiatives and are currently working with governors in 22 states covering more than 21 million students. As a non-profit, our tools and services are offered free of charge.   

EducationSuperHighway is funded by national philanthropic organizations including the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and our mission is supported by America’s leading CEOs.

Find OIT online at colorado.gov/oit, on the #StateofCO IT blog, and on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Media Contact: Tauna Lockhart, Chief Communications Officer & PIO
303.764.7731 (work)
720.933.9193 (cell)
tauna.lockhart@state.co.us