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Verizon, BIE to Install High-Speed Internet at 80 Indigenous American Schools; Maggie Hallbach Quoted

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Verizon has opted to partner with the Bureau of Indian Education to establish high-speed internet connection in 80 tribally-run schools throughout the United States.

The new networks will affect almost 42,000 Native American students living in 64 indigenous American reservations in 13 states and will build on Verizon’s prior work with BIE, the Basking Ridge, New Jersey-based company said Wednesday.

“A quality, high-bandwidth connection is critical for students to be able to learn from wherever they are. We believe this is a fundamental right for all students,” remarked Maggie Hallbach, senior vice president of the public sector business at Verizon.

Hallbach added that the collaboration is meant to aid in BIE’s objective to strengthen the caliber of education indigenous children receive in the U.S. while promoting the cultural and economic prosperity of distinct tribes.

The company’s modifications and network enhancements under its newly received Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions contract are set to be conducted through 2023, with the first bandwidth improvements available to students in fall 2022.

As a result of the network upgrades, the 80 schools in Verizon’s rollout will possess 1GB internet connections and a deeper technology arsenal for student usage. The endeavor is a function of the Citizen Verizon public good organization, which focuses on spreading “digital equity and inclusion.”

Previously, the telecommunications company worked with BIE under the Networx contract to evolve indigenous and tribal communities’ networks from T1 to 100MB internet connections. This prior project reached over 100 schools. Verizon consults third-party access suppliers in order to customize the network installations to the specifications of each site and tribe.

The new BIE contract follows the U.S. Department of Defense’s award of three task orders amounting to nearly $1 billion in March to Verizon Public Sector. The task orders require the VPS team to apply voice and data technical expertise to the Pentagon, the DOD National Capital Region and Fort Belvoir.

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