Free Wifi Program For Local Students

Free Wifi Program For Local Students
Posted on 07/18/2014

FOREST CITY, NC (July 15, 2014) – The Town of Forest City, Rutherford County Schools, PANGAEA Internet, and Facebook Inc. announced today that they are launching a pilot program intended to deliver free Wi-Fi to students who live in the Rutherford County School District. The first phase of the pilot will launch immediately, testing solutions for delivering free Wi-Fi access to 75-100 homes in the neighborhood surrounding the Rutherford Opportunity Center in Forest City.


The Forest City neighborhood was selected with the assistance of Rutherford County Schools, in part because of its high concentration of students. In 2011, the school system introduced a 1:1 initiative to provide a personal laptop to every middle and high school student. Administration officials have found, however, that nearly half of the 6,000 students who have received a laptop do not have Internet access at home. The new Wi-Fi network is intended to enable these students to take full advantage of the 1:1 program, using the Internet both at school and in their own homes. 


The first-phase Wi-Fi network is currently live and can be accessed by joining the “Connect” network. Future phases of the pilot will focus on expanding access to more students in the Rutherford County School District and on improving the performance of the network.


“It’s heartwarming to see a local business, the non-profit community, the school system, and the Town come together to provide such an important service to our students and help them develop the skills they need to succeed in the 21st century,” said Forest City Mayor Dennis Tarlton. “This joint initiative is the perfect example of what makes Forest City such an exceptional place to live and work. This is a great opportunity for the citizens of Forest City.”


“One of the pillars of the 1:1 Initiative is to ensure equal access to digital information for all students, ” said Dr. Janet Mason, Superintendent of Rutherford County Schools. “We are thrilled to have partners like Facebook, PANGAEA Internet, and the Town of Forest City who share this vision and are enabling us to take another step toward delivering on our promise. When you can utilize technology to enhance educational opportunities for our county’s young people, everybody wins."


“PANGAEA Internet’s nonprofit mission is focused on improving our community, and as Rutherford County’s premier fiber optic internet service provider, we understand the impact that wireless access can have on businesses and families alike,” said Ron Walters, Executive Director of PANGAEA Internet. “We are delighted to be a partner in this joint initiative to invest in our region’s students by extending access to their homes.”


 "Connectivity brings more opportunities, and we are proud to partner with Forest City, the Rutherford County schools, and PANGAEA Internet to make the Internet more accessible to the students of Forest City,” said Keven McCammon, site manager for Facebook’s data center in Forest City. “This is an extension of our ongoing efforts to invest in the local community, and it is our hope that this joint initiative will enable students to take advantage of the benefits of digital learning at home and at school.”


About Forest City, NC

Forest City was incorporated as Burnt Chimney in 1877, and the name was changed to Forest City in 1887. The population of Forest City is 7,450 and it is the commercial hub of Rutherford County. Forest City is situated in the foothills of the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. 

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About Rutherford County Schools

Rutherford County Schools serves approximately 9,000 students through five high schools, three middle schools, and ten elementary schools. The system also has pre-school programs, a middle grade alternative program, a high school alternative program, and an early college program. Its mission is to prepare all students for lifelong learning in a global community by partnering with families and communities, providing rigorous academic and career preparation experiences, and promoting a safe and nurturing school environment. 

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About PANGAEA Internet

PANGAEA Internet is a non-profit provider of high-speed fiber optic Internet service. Its network currently serves customers at over 140 locations across Polk and Rutherford Counties, including public school districts, city and county governments, health care facilities, and local businesses. 

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About Facebook

Founded in 2004, Facebook's mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what's going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them. 

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