FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Gov. Hutchinson Announces Completion of Arkansas Public School Computer Network High-Speed Broadband
Arkansas 1 of only 6 States with 100% Connectivity
LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced the completion of the Arkansas Public School Computer Network (APSCN), the high-speed broadband upgrade for 100 percent of the state’s K-12 school systems. The completion of this two-year project catapults Arkansas to the top of the nation in broadband connectivity, delivering secure, high-speed broadband to 293 public schools, charter schools and education-service cooperatives statewide. Governor Hutchinson, DIS Director Yessica Jones and ADE Assistant Commissioner Eric Saunders made the announcement from the Glen Rose School District in Malvern on Thursday.
Arkansas is now one of only six states in the nation to achieve at least 100 kilobits per second (kbps) per student in 100 percent of its school districts, according to the most recent data. In fact, the state doubled that figure, meaning Arkansas students will now have access to a minimum of 200 kbps per student. The new APSCN provides students, teachers and faculty in Arkansas school districts of all sizes and geographic locations a highly secure, all-fiber, high-speed broadband network that delivers internet speeds 40 times faster than the previous network.
Governor Hutchinson issued the following statement:
“In 2015, when I issued the directive to connect all our schools, I didn’t know exactly how it would look, but I knew for sure that information systems and the education department would get the job done. They did, and the final product looks grand. Not only are we leading the way, we surpassed the federal goals and set a standard for the rest of the nation.”
Yessica Jones, Director of DIS, issued the following statement:
“Because Arkansas is a rural state, many of our school districts were falling into that digital divide cited in study after study of the national broadband environment. A national organization said Arkansas had an unprecedented opportunity to lead the nation in upgrading the internet access to its K-12 schools in a comprehensive and cost-effective way. Today, I am proud to say we did it.”
ADE Commissioner Johnny Key issued the following statement:
“In order to accomplish our vision of transforming Arkansas to lead the nation in student-focused education, our students must have access to high-speed Internet. The partnership between ADE and DIS has helped make this bandwidth goal a reality for every student in the state. Because of this accomplishment, the learning opportunities for all students are endless.”
In April 2015, the governor directed DIS and ADE to build a network to meet the federal internet access target of 100 kbps per student for digital learning. At that time, only 58 percent of Arkansas districts were meeting the federal target.
The new network provides bandwidth speeds to access online courses and conduct online research and internet-based class projects, such as coding and virtual field trips. Additionally, it will be instrumental in facilitating students’ completion of online courses the state requires for graduation.
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