BERKELEY, Calif. (PRWEB) February 11, 2021
The Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD), in collaboration with the Berkeley Public Schools Fund, today announced a partnership with local internet service provider Sonic to provide free high-speed fiber-optic internet access to students for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year (through July 1, 2021). This offer from Sonic, with a value of up to $2.9 million, aims to get all Berkeley Public School students connected at home for distance learning. Sonic and BUSD are currently exploring opportunities to extend the free high-speed fiber-optic internet offer beyond July 1, 2021 to low-income families eligible to receive free or reduced lunch through the District.
Distance learning has made reliable high-speed internet connectivity essential for student households across America. While mobile hotspots are available, they are often in limited supply, and may not always be reliable enough. And in many cases, even low-income wireline internet service plans are unaffordable for families, or too slow for distance learning.
To meet this need locally, Berkeley Unified School District, collaborating with the Berkeley Public Schools Fund, has partnered with Sonic to provide free fiber-optic gigabit (1000Mbps) internet access to all student households not currently connected on Sonic’s service. The offer begins immediately.
Sonic’s fiber-optic network provides fast, reliable high-speed internet access for students and families. This symmetric Gigabit Fiber Internet at up to 1000Mbps will improve the distance learning experience for students while saving all Berkeley Unified School District families the cost of internet access for the remainder of the school year.
“We’re thrilled to work with the Berkeley Public Schools Fund and to partner with Sonic to help solve connectivity challenges our families are facing--especially our most vulnerable families,” said BUSD Superintendent Brent Stephens. “This offer from Sonic has come at a time when many in our school community have lost work or are experiencing diminished incomes due to the pandemic.”
Sonic will provide free fiber internet service for all BUSD student families that are not already connected with Sonic through July 1, 2021. A BUSD student household may qualify if:
- Their location is served by Sonic Fiber
- They have at least one BUSD student in grades Pre-K-12, living at home
- They are not a current Sonic internet customer
BUSD families can sign up for this program by visiting sonic.com/busd or calling 510-858-7848.
“As a community-based business, Sonic is thrilled to work with Berkeley Unified and the Schools Fund to address the lack of affordable connectivity that impacts student learning here in Berkeley,” said Dane Jasper, CEO and Co-Founder Sonic.
For over 26 years, Sonic has been committed to changing the way people think about their internet. We stand up in support of an open and fair internet, set a refreshingly-high standard for customer care, and are committed to building a fiber-optic network through the Bay Area and beyond. We want everyone to have access to fast and affordable connectivity with member-focused policies. Named California's fastest ISP in 2020, we’re not slowing down anytime soon: You can see if your address is eligible for service by visiting sonic.com.
About Berkeley Unified School District
Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) is responsible for educating more than 9,400 students in 11 public elementary schools, 3 middle schools, one comprehensive high school, and an alternative high school. In addition, the district has 3 preschool facilities and an Adult School. Since the founding of the University of California, Berkeley in 1868 and the establishment of Berkeley’s first high school in 1879, Berkeley’s community has been proud to be a leader in public education. In 1968, BUSD was the nation’s first school district to desegregate without a court order. With a tradition of excellence rooted in a vibrant community, Berkeley Unified alumni have become national and international leaders in business, civic society, politics, academia, sports and the arts. Students and staff in Berkeley Unified come from a wide variety of ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, surrounded by one of the most intellectually and culturally rich regions in the United States.
About Berkeley Public Schools Fund
The Berkeley Public Schools Fund supports teaching and learning in BUSD through grant opportunities for teachers and a volunteer program that trains community members to support student learning. During COVID, the Schools Fund has been active in addressing the Digital Divide, ensuring that students can access distance learning.