The Vallecitos School District has teamed up with Lokket, Inc. extending its Universal Basic Internet network directly into student homes. The network consists of community internet transmission points, including the North County Fire Department, Sommerville Market, houses, and schools, so students can use the service at home instead of sitting in car parks or walking for miles to hotspot zones.
“All of our classrooms, including preschool, are equipped with one-to-one devices,” said Dr. Maritza Koeppen, Vallecitos School District Superintendent. “However, we have a technology challenge in our district called the ‘home equity gap’ because our students don’t have Internet at home, leaving them at a disadvantage. Many families can’t get access to it or can’t afford it, so we decided to act.”
The Lokket Universal Basic Internet program aims to make internet access a utility across the country, just like running water and electricity. Basic doesn’t mean poor service either, with a minimum target of 50Mbps to each connected home. Included are essential tools such as privacy protection and cybersecurity mitigation with a guarantee no user data is sold to third parties and no tracking of browsing for advertising revenue.
Barry Krumweide North County Fire Department Chief, said, “It’s wonderful to see the community banding together to solve what is a community issue. We need these kids to grow up healthy, strong, and ready to tackle the challenges our community will meet in the future with the essential digital skills needed. You can’t do that without education and no internet access.”.
“Most people think the impact of no Internet at home for students is about doing homework. The reality is that it impacts much more than that, telehealth services, accessing government services online the entire family, staying connected with loved ones, and their overall wellbeing. It limits learning required to keep up and develop the skills they will need for tomorrow’s jobs and social cohesion,” said Erik Santiago, Chief Technology Officer at Lokket, Inc.
“If anything, Covid-19 has shown us how important an education is, educated teachers, scientists, doctors, nurses, and so many others who are working to support their community. Our kids must have access to help them become the heroes we will need tomorrow. We are thrilled to be a part of that.” Said Sharon Brown, owner of Sommerville Market.