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Stevin, a fifth-grader at Lynch Elementary School, takes care of schoolwork outside a Wi-Fi-enabled school bus that visited his northeast Las Vegas neighborhood on Monday, May 18, 2020. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)

The City of Las Vegas has received a $950,000 grant that will be put toward improving internet connectivity for students amid remote learning.

The six-figure grant comes from the Governor’s Office of Science, Innovation and Technology. Officials said it will be used to create a city-wide wireless network, with initial deployment near the Historic Westside, Corridor of Hope and Medical District neighborhoods.

The undertaking will involve adding equipment such as antennas, radios, fiber switches and microwave radios to streetlight poles. City leaders described the end result as a “heightened internet” that Clark County School District students can access at no charge through cell phones, tablets and mobile notebooks.

The first phase of the network project is expected to be complete by the end of the year.

It represents another effort to bridge the digital divide as students remain in distance-education mode. Recent estimates suggest nearly a third of Las Vegas households may not have fixed internet access.

Connecting students with both internet and appropriate technology devices has been a herculean effort since the pandemic abruptly closed schools in mid-March. Similarly, groups have been trying to improve the quality of the internet, especially for families with multiple children. 

The Clark County School District has been operating under remote learning this academic year and will continue to do so at least through early January.

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