WiFi upgrade coming soon to buses in Kanawha County

Published: Aug. 31, 2020 at 4:18 PM EDT
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KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - As parents prepare to tackle virtual learning this school year, Kanawha County Schools officials are rolling out a plan to help those who lack internet access.

Last week the county received a grant for the state worth a little under $400,000. This grant will be used to update the current WiFi routers that are on buses in Kanawha County.

The update will provide students with 5G speeds, along with a stronger signal that spans over a larger area.

Officials say a little more than 90 percent of students in Kanawha County have access to WiFi. This program will attempt to bridge the gap for students who live in rural areas, as well as students who don’t have means to access a secure WiFi connection.

“We’re trying to do our best to get as many different options as we can,” said Leah Sparks, executive director of technology for Kanawha County Schools.

Officials say they highly doubt the routers will be installed by the first day of school, but say they’re working as fast as they can to finish the project.

Routers have been ordered, but officials say the current demand for technology is high, so it might be a while before the routers come in.

However, because the buses in Kanawha are already wired for internet, officials believe once the routers come in the turnaround will be fast.

“The buses are already wired for it, so it’s just swapping out the hardware and getting the new hardware set up,” Sparks said.

In the meantime, students can get access to WiFi in the parking lots of schools in Kanawha County.

This project is happening in conjunction with the West Virginia Kids Connect initiative, so once the upgrades are finished students can use both.

While the route for the new project has not been finalized, officials say buses will be available in places like Rand and Clendenin.

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