TPS 501 partnering with COX to offer reduced internet prices for families ahead of school year

Education 21st Century

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – A cable company in Topeka is helping schools in our area to close the digital divide during the pandemic.

The ‘Connect-2-Compete’ program by Cox Communications offers internet from $9.95 a month to families who don’t have extra money to spend.

“For less than the price of a movie ticket, families are able to get quality internet services,” Dr. Aarion Gray with Topeka Public Schools said.

The program’s been around since 2012, long before the current pandemic, but it’s coming in handy for families now more than ever as students start heading back into a school year of virtual learning at home.

“Connectivity and the way we’re learning, the things that we’re doing at home…that just gets more and more and then you throw in COVID and a pandemic, and now here we are. And we’re all shifting and pivoting,” Mandy Wilbert with COX said. “So, not only are we working from home, but we’re now learning from home.”

The program is good for any student K-12 who qualifies for free or reduced lunches or another government assisted program.

“For our families, we feel that this is empowering and also, it provides equitable resources and opportunities for students across the district,” Dr. Gray said.

The district said 78% of students at 501 qualified for free or reduced lunches just last year so potentially that many students could qualify for this ‘Connect-2-Compete’ program this year.

“It’s not just a luxury item, it’s something that people need. And we want to bridge that digital divide, we want to make sure these kids aren’t falling behind,” Wilbert said.

She said just because the internet is cheaper, doesn’t mean the quality is.

The internet deal comes without a contract, free installation and free modem rentals.

To see if you qualify for free and reduced meals, click here.

To apply for the reduced Wi-Fi cost, click here.

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