SpaceX has partnered with a rural Texas school district to provide free Starlink Satellite internet to families living within the boundaries. This first of its kind deal for Starlink will begin in 2021 providing dozens of students within Texas’ Ector County Independent School District free broadband to help facilitate online learning during Covid-19.
“This innovative partnership represents bold and unprecedented action for our school district and our community,” said ECISD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Scott Muri. “Our research clearly indicates the lack of broadband access is a crisis in Ector County. In collaboration with SpaceX, we are providing space-based Internet service to students and families that have few, if any, options. The partners with us share our vision for equity and access for all students. Today, we take a giant leap forward in closing the digital divide that exists within our community.”
Per the press release announcement:
The project will initially provide free Internet service to 45 families in the Pleasant Farms area of south Ector County. The school district will identify the families and facilitate delivery of the necessary equipment to those homes. The service will be active early in 2021. As the network capabilities continue to grow, it will expand to serve an additional 90 Ector County families.
Starlink internet currently delivers broadband internet at the same quality as traditional ground-based internet. Starlink has 100Mbps download speeds at a latency of around 30 milliseconds.
“We are thrilled to have this opportunity to work with committed partners like the PSP and Chiefs for Change, as well as SpaceX and its next generation Internet solution to provide service for our families,” said Dr. Muri. “Closing the digital divide in our community is a key element in our District’s strategic plan. Ector County ISD is determined to lead this effort because we believe this is a moral imperative and simply the right work to do for our students.”