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TPS partnering with Cox Internet for increased data service

Published: Aug. 21, 2020 at 6:24 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Cox Internet and Topeka Public Schools are partnering for the “Connect 2 Compete” program to bring increased internet data to online school learners.

It allows homes that qualify for free or reduced lunches more data for just under $10 a month.

Cox will also send TPS the monthly bill for each family that uses the program. They can use up to 1.25 terabytes of data per month to accommodate as compared to the previous 1TB limit.

Mandy Wilbert, Cox’s Senior Manager of Public Affairs for Kansas, said the increase is making a big difference.

“It would take someone 430 hours of streaming per month on Netflix, in HD, to reach that. So when you put in context of that, that’s all a lot of binge watching,” she said.

Cox users receive alerts when they reach a limit on their data usage for the month. Wilbert said it is not meant to cause fear, but to have customers keep an on eye on their plans.

“I think 90% pre-COVID would never use the data usage, the 1 TB, and we just kind of were watching things and we made an increase. We proactively increased it by 25% for our customers. Now 95% of our customers won’t even come close to that.”

She wants to make sure all students are learning equally.

“Fill out job applications, to do business and know how to do that. If you’re at home and you’re not learning that, then that already starts to spread that divide between kids and whatever we can do to help that, we are.”

Cox is also working with cities and communities to provide access for all at home.

“We’ve had a lot of great conversations and we’ve come up with some creative solutions to really make sure that we don’t have groups of kids sitting, like you said, in the McDonald’s parking lot.”

Wilbert says there is no deadline to apply and current Cox users can apply, if they meet the requirements.

She said they are having a deal that if a family signs up before Sept. 15, they will get 60 days of free internet.

Cox provides internet usage to 92 communities in Kansas and is working with other school districts for the “Connect 2 Compete” program. Wilbert said each district is different though in terms of payment to Cox or by the school.

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