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The original item was published from 11/2/2020 1:44:10 PM to 11/3/2022 12:00:00 AM.

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Office of Communications

Posted on: November 2, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Board Aims to Narrow Digital Divide for Students with Almost $7 Million

Hot Spots for schools

Federal dollars will purchase hot spots for school districts

At a time when technology is more important than ever to student learning, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors is acting to make sure more schools have strong internet connections. The Board allocated $6.8 million in federal CARES funds to address the Digital Divide, which is the growing gap between those with access to computers and the internet, and those who do not.

After approving the funding, Board members asked the Office of Enterprise Technology to reach out to all 58 school districts in the County to determine their technology needs. As a result of those discussions, Maricopa County purchased 29,790 hotspots for 32 school districts in Maricopa County. The hotspots use cellular technology to connect to the internet. The County also paid for the first year of service.

“As we navigate through this pandemic our students should not be denied an opportunity for learning just because it is virtual,“ said Supervisor Jack Sellers, District 1. “We want students and teachers to have the tools they need to stay engaged during this challenging time.”

The school districts were able to choose a cellular company that best meets their needs. The hotspots will be delivered directly to the school districts by the cellular vendors in early December.

“Never has addressing the digital divide in our communities been more important than during this pandemic. We want to make sure all students have access to the internet during this time,” said Supervisor Bill Gates, District 3. “This will give school districts the flexibility to deliver lessons online to all students if virtual learning is the only option.”

To find more information on all of the assistance available to Maricopa County residents during the pandemic, visit

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