The PRT would like to thank Mary Faley, Sonoita School District Superintendent, Leonard Sadorf, Elgin School Information and Technology Specialist, and the Elgin School Board for taking a giant leap forward by bringing broadband to our school district and for their work on the Final Mile Project to bring high speed internet to the homes of our students. We also applaud Faley’s collaboration with state officials to ensure the project was funded with no cost to our district. 

During this past year, the pandemic exposed inequities across our rural communities in the lack of access at home and in schools to reliable, high-speed internet service and technology. We remain underserved and overlooked for broadband internet services often because of the high cost to lay cable and the low potential customer base to entice providers to invest in rural networks. The rural broadband gap is one of the biggest educational obstacles for our community and across our state and nation. 

The lack of technology in the home can deny a child access to an education. Access permits students to create or download videos, conduct research with other students across the world, engage in on-line courses not locally available, learn from home in emergencies, develop technological skills needed for advanced studies and prepare them for future employment. 

Learning cannot be limited to the confines of the school day or school building. It’s important for all our children to be connected to their school, community, and the world from their home.

The coming of broadband to our area is exciting news for our community and has the potential to benefit all of us by bringing reliable, high-speed internet to all residents, businesses, our fire district, nonprofits and a host of others. If we can bridge this gap as a community, our area will become much more attractive for people to live, work from home, and could provide opportunities for more on-line businesses to expand or start up in our area.

The PRT encourages everyone in our community to get behind this project and help to make it happen, including property owners outside the ADOT right-of-way. We encourage them to say “yes” to Zayo and allow them to use existing utility poles to help avoid additional project costs and delays in getting the broadband to the school and our children. 

Also, if you know of potential and reliable vendors for the Final Mile Project, please share that information with the school.

Broadband connectivity in our rural area will afford our students the opportunity to compete in a 21st century economy with 21st century tools.