MAPS partners with NMU for internet access

President Obama has challenged schools to get high–speed broadband and wireless Internet service at school for 99% of K–12 students within five years.

The president is calling it the Connect-Ed Initiative.

Many school districts are already tackling this issue on their own.  The Marquette Area Public Schools have entered two technology agreements with Northern Michigan University in the last few years.

One covers NMU’s Wi-Max technology.

“There is a Wi-Max antenna just outside outside the athletic field, there’s one at Cherry Creek, and we can use their Wi-Max signal wherever it’s available to us,” MAPS Technology Manager Craig Lindstrom said.

The White House says only 20% of American K-12 students currently have high–speed Internet access at school.

Another agreement will allow MAPS to use NMU’s wireless Internet access points once the university no longer needs them.

“We do the wiring and they (NMU) provide the access points and the management consult for us at a very minimal cost so that will provide wireless in our buildings,” Lindstrom said.  “Then we’ll be able to move towards mobile devices, guest access and all of that stuff.”

The Connect-Ed Initiative does not set aside any new money to accomplish its goal.  It calls for the U.S. Department of Education to work with states and school districts to use existing funding.