Becoming the Southern Oregon Coast’s premiere internet provider and participating in the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program has positioned Beacon Broadband as an educational difference maker.
By Beacon Broadband Vice President of Sales and Marketing Bill Gerski
Access to high-speed internet has long been a challenge for many families in rural Oregon. This technological disadvantage has created a gap in education, with many rural students needing help to keep up with their peers in urban areas.
However, recent developments have brought new hope to these families. With initiatives like the Federal Communications Affordable Connectivity Program—which provides financial assistance for internet costs to low-income households—and the expansion of high-speed fiber internet to rural areas, families are finally gaining access to the resources they need to close the education gap. Beacon Broadband is actively engaged in these developments, and we can see firsthand the difference they make in the lives of our rural students.
In rural Oregon, many school-age children have continually struggled with a lack of high-speed internet access. With slow and unreliable connections, students have needed help to complete their homework, conduct research and keep up with online classes. Their lack of access to critical educational resources has left them at a disadvantage in their studies.
The problem of limited internet access is especially prevalent in our far-reaching rural areas where other internet service providers often consider it financially unfeasible to build fiber networks and offer high-speed service. Conversely, Beacon Broadband saw this reality and made it our goal to invest in these areas and bring fiber internet services where no one else will go.
So many families in rural Oregon find themselves relying on technology to keep their children engaged in homework assignments. Unfortunately, the lack of reliable internet access can severely impact their success in school. Kindergarten through 12th grade educators and parents have witnessed students in these rural areas struggle with accessing online resources, such as digital textbooks or virtual classrooms; responding to teachers’ emails; or accessing required educational programs. Academic hardship can lead to increased drop-out rates and a real sense of never being able to catch up with peers who have access to superior internet.
The steady rollout of Beacon Broadband’s high-speed fiber internet is helping families access high-quality resources and learning materials.
Additionally, teachers have the tools they need to support and communicate with students at every level of the educational process. Without question, better internet access has positively and measurably impacted their children’s educational outcomes.
The Role of Affordable Connectivity Programs
With the implementation of initiatives, such as the Affordable Connectivity Program, Oregon’s qualifying families can access reduced-rate or no-cost internet service. Beacon Broadband wholeheartedly participates in this effort to provide monthly financial aid that often saves families hundreds of dollars annually. This type of assistance can go a long way in supporting their children’s education.
Around 185 million households in the United States are eligible for the ACP, but only a fraction have registered, indicating a need to raise awareness about this vital program. Beacon Broadband is committed to helping our members and their families access this program, if they qualify. Visit www.beaconbroadband/acp to learn more.
Beacon Broadband’s fiber internet service is making a difference in the lives of students, families, and teachers in rural Oregon, and we need to continue supporting initiatives that enable greater access to these critical learning resources. Whether through expanding infrastructure, participating in financial assistance programs, or promoting digital education and literacy, we must work together to ensure all students can access the tools they need to succeed.