That could mean providing families a mobile hot spot to access the internet in their home, working with Spectrum to provide access or a combination of both.

The school district has been speaking with Spectrum about how the company might help bridge the digital divide for Buffalo families.

“It would work just like a normal Spectrum account,” Burden said. “The difference is it would be billed to the district and the speed and capacity might not be the equivalent of the top-of-the-line internet service that they have.

“They brought some options to the table and, in the spirit of that conversation, we asked them to give us an analysis, so we could estimate the cost for planning purposes.”

The district shared with the company a list of 18,354 household addresses that have students in the school system to determine how many and which ones had service. No identifiable information was provided.

The analysis by Spectrum showed 3,149 of those student households – or 17% – currently had no internet service. It’s not clear exactly the number of Buffalo students that impacts, assuming there’s more than one student in a household.

Cost to the district is estimated at $29.99 a month.

“If you are now an active Spectrum customer with Internet service that you’ve been paying for you can’t abandon that, sign up for this and allow the district to pay for it,” Burden explained.

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