Arizona

Feb 8, 2014 5:41 PM by Associated Press

Internet upgrade may come from Ariz. school fees

PHOENIX (AP) - Gov. Jan Brewer is hoping to offset the digital divide among Arizona schools when it comes to Internet access.

The Arizona Republic reports (http://bit.ly/1fNQs3n ) Brewer is proposing to fund upgrades to the state's broadband infrastructure by charging school districts and charter schools $15 per child over a six-year period.

Some educators and politicians are challenging the proposal, saying it would only benefit private companies and homeowners.

According to Brewer's plan, which would cost state and private entities $350 million, schools would foot the bill for internal updates needed to access faster broadband. They would also have to pay for Internet access.

Critics say some rural schools simply can't afford the necessary equipment.

Schools in communities that already have quick Internet access still have to pay the $15 fee.

If approved by lawmakers as part of next year's budget, the expansion will mean a state Internet service provider contract will be up for grabs.

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