CALDWELL, Tex. (KBTX) Burleson County schools could have access to high speed internet as soon as the end of the summer. The lack of high speed internet has been a big problem for Caldwell ISD.
"Our phones are IP addressable, so our phone's work through the internet. If the internet goes down, our phones go down. That's happened to me twice since Christmas,” said Caldwell ISD Superintendent Andrew Peters.
A multi-million dollar federal grant obtained by the Brazos Valley Council of Governments approved high-speed internet fiber installation from Bryan to health care systems in the six surrounding counties. School districts that provide school nurses qualify as health care networks, giving them direct access to the fibers.
"We have school nurses on our four campuses and those nurses are often times the first contact a student has with healthcare,” said Peters.
"Those nurses really need access to the hospitals and the clinics in the area, so the grant was funded and we were asked to start building the fiber network,” said Larry Gaskin, Project Manager for the Brazos Valley Council of Governments.
Gaskin says Burleson County schools will be the first to use the new fibers because the county has been working on the necessary infrastructure for the past eight years.
“If there is an existing ream, or existing connection to the schools and clinics we’ll just make a single point of contact to them, and that will give us access to them without us disrupting any of the ground again and disrupting their existing service,” said Gaskin.
Peters says the fibers will speed his district's internet by ten times, which will also improve the quality of education in classrooms.
"We’re tickled to death that the ability of bringing high speed internet in for rural health can also benefit the school,” said Superintendent Peters.
The Brazos Valley Council of Governments says the entire project could take up to two years before all counties can fully utilize the fibers.