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Albemarle Wants to Close Digital Gap Between Schools, Home - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Albemarle Schools Want to Close Digital Gap Between Schools, Home

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Albemarle educators want to eliminate a digital divide. Albemarle County School's $3.8 million Digital Divide Plan would give every student access to the Internet at home. 

The news comes as the division faces a budget shortfall. Vince Scheivert, chief information officer for the school division, says the plan should be completed within five years. Those selected for the pilot program could see broadband within the year.

The plan is twofold. Part one starts with a fiber optic network to interconnect all county schools. Up to 100 miles of cable will increase services and data transmission. The second part involves using existing cell phone towers and infrastructure to provide Internet access to all students including those in rural areas.

"We teach all kids and for us - all means all. So whether you're down in Esmont or you're here in town, you have the same capabilities as one another," said Scheivert. 

The division says the costs over the next five years will be covered by existing money, but supervisors do have to approve the re-appropriation of the money.

"We can't spend millions of dollars to accommodate five percent of the people because they don't have access to the Internet now," said Ken Boyd, Albemarle County supervisor.

If this goes through, Albemarle will be one of the few school divisions in the country with this type of program.

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