The Final Mile Project is an effort being organized by the Arizona Rural Schools Association to support rural schools setting up affordable robust internet access for students in the far flung parts of Arizona. Phase one of the project includes individual districts working as a consortium to pursue public-private partnerships that will fill in the homework gap for rural students.

We are pleased to announce the project’s first award of a proposal. Paloma Elementary School District is a small school district serving part of the Gila Bend area. Most of the district’s students live in poverty, and their ability to access the internet is limited by their geography and their socioeconomic status. The Final Mile Consortium will enter into a contract with Triad Communications LLC to construct a wireless broadband network that will bring high quality internet access to each of these student’s homes. The monthly cost of the service will be less than the cost of lunch for two, and the internet service will be filtered to assure student safety as they use it to do school work.

The Final Mile Project is funded by a grant from the Arizona Department of Education which will pay for the initial infrastructure costs including the erection of towers and the placement of transmitters throughout the community. The consortium is looking forward to additional awards by the end of August as phase one of the project moves from the conceptual phase to the construction phase.