Message from the CEO
As the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, we want you to know that we’re doing all we can to help.
We will continue to prioritize the safety of our employees while working tirelessly to support schools, districts, and libraries with our Education Broadband connectivity, making it possible for students across the country to keep learning in safe virtual communities regardless of their economic status or geographical location.
Daniel J.W. Neal,
Kajeet CEO, Chairman, and Founder
In the hill towns of Albany County, the Berne Knox Westerlo Central School District is facing a disconnect between some students and internet access.
“We had about 28-30% of our student population without internet access or with very poor internet access.” Superintendent Dr. Timothy Mundell said. […]
The district also partnered with Capital Region BOCES to send Kajeet hotspot devices home. They work off of cell service. The district purchased about 20 devices.
The Washoe County School District (WCSD) is helping students and families with Wi-Fi connectivity with the use of SmartBus networking devices. These devices will be deployed to 10 locations throughout the community and will also be available to students who are riding school buses for long periods of time traveling to and from school. […]
“One of our significant equity challenges is connectivity, and we’re working to ensure that all of our students have remote access to their hybrid or distance learning opportunities,” said WCSD Chief Information Officer Dr. Chris Turner.
According to Sears, “Many students and even some teachers across our district do not have wifi at home. They have a phone, but that’s not the same as having internet access on your computer. RSD2 has been very proactive in helping our students and staff with this issue. We’ve provided some students and staff with a wifi hotspot device called Kajeets, which are all monitored by the district. Without the Kajeet, many students could not attend the online classes. That’s unacceptable.”
The Clay County library system received a grant this year for $9,000 that allowed them to purchase 25 Kajeet SmartSpot Wi-Fi devices. The devices look like a deck of cards that create standalone Wi-Fi hotspots for users to access so that they can stream videos, surf the web and play games, although its original purpose was more educational. […]
“People need access to computers,” Capps said. “It’s so necessary right now with everything going on and we’re happy that we can provide remote access with the [SmartSpot] devices and with our computers here in our branches.”
Approved increasing data for Kajeet Hotspots, devices offered to families attending school remotely who do not have a dependable internet connection. The renewal price is projected to be $131,460 for all 250 Smartspot devices on the complete unlimited data plan starting August 2021 for academic year 2021-2022.
Parker said for families that don’t have broadband internet access, Gateway is purchasing 60 Kajeet hot spots. He said they are still in the process of assessing those needs through a survey, and will give students in Blandford and Middlefield, towns which are not yet hooked up, the first priority.
“We’re working really hard to make sure devices and hot spots are available,” Parker said.
Personal cellular hotspots will come from Kajeet, which specializes in K-12 connectivity solutions. The state is providing orientation sessions to district leaders on connecting students to cable broadband partners, and is working with those carriers to prioritize connections to students and schools in greatest need.
The 60,000 at-home internet connections purchased in the form of wired broadband or personal hotspots include:
- 12,774 Kajeet hotspots, 100 percent of which have been shipped to districts; and
- Cable broadband for 40,000 students, the delivery of which is already underway, with installation beginning in the next two weeks.
The district also used the CARES act money to purchase 180 Kajeet SmartSpots. These SmartSpots will provide internet connectivity to families who due to location or financial need, lack sufficient access to the internet. It is estimated roughly 50% of families do not currently have access to the internet. With the SmartSpots that problem is now solved. Within the past two weeks 200 additional hot spots were purchased to meet needs.
Library Services Director Karen Walker said, “Clay County libraries purchased 25 SmartSpots through Kajeet Incorporated, who typically serves school districts and is a great partner for the library system.” Kajeet filters out non-educational sites and blocks harmful content such as websites containing malware, viruses, proxies, and phishing. The funding to purchase the SmartSpots came from a Northeast Florida Library Information Network 2020 innovation grant.
The library made 100 Kajeet mobile hotspot devices available to lend out at several libraries in the most rural areas of the county. […]
“While we know 100 additional devices are not enough, we believe it’s a step in the right direction and we are committed to further efforts in narrowing that gap,” CCPL Executive Director Angela Craig says. […]
The Kajeet devices, powered by Verizon, were awarded to CCPL through a grant aimed at expanding digital network access, the purchase of internet accessible devices and providing technical support services. This project is made possible in part by a Library Services and Technology Act grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services administered by the South Carolina State Library.
“Clay County libraries purchased 25 SmartSpots through Kajeet Incorporated, who typically serves school districts and is a great partner for the library system,” said Library Services Director Karen Walker in an email to WJCT News.
According to a survey the district released earlier in the year, almost 1,500 of their students do not have reliable internet. Many teachers across the county also struggle with maintaining a reliable connection. ACPS Coordinator of Digital Equity Bert Jacoby says making sure everyone has access to reliable internet and technology is no small feat. […]
The district supplied laptops and iPads to students earlier in the year. It’s now working with providers like Comcast for cheaper internet plans and distributing hundreds of hot-spots called “Kajeets,” across the county.
The state is funding 10,000 Comcast basic internet accounts and 3,000 Kajeet SmartSpot hotspot devices for public school families in case of connectivity issues.
The board voted unanimously to authorize $282,200 to purchase 500 hotspots through Kajeet, a company that specializes in wireless connectivity issues in schools and higher education. That money will come from the $2.6 million in federal pandemic relief funds the district received earlier this year. […]
Ziegler pointed out that Kajeet, which has worked with districts “smaller and larger” than Shawnee Mission, contracts with multiple carriers, which said was important for Shawnee Mission.
Not only has the school district invested in Chromebooks, it also is providing connectivity for the devices so that they will function.
“A Chromebook is only an effective tool if there is adequate Internet connectivity so the district also used CARES Act funds to purchase Kajeet SmartSpots,” Johnson said. “The Kajeet SmartSpot is a filtered mobile hotspot device which provides students with a safe, simple wireless connection to the Internet.”
To accommodate students in need of adequate broadband, school system spokesperson Melinda Berry-Dreisbach said the school system is purchasing 300 Kajeet hot spot devices for student homes.
The Kajeet “SmartSpot” is a filtered mobile hotspot device providing students with a safe, simple wireless connection to the internet,” according to the company.
Information supplied by the company said the Kajeet SmartSpot is a portable, 4G LTE hotspot each student can take home to complete required assignments and homework. It supports the latest, most advanced security and it is compatible with all industry-standard Wi-Fi capable devices across all operating systems. The SmartSpot has a long battery life, providing up to 10 hours of use on a single charge. Each Kajeet SmartSpot comes fully kitted and activated, with a custom, padded carrying case; charger; and instruction manual.
“The district is also benefitting from a grant from Kajeet, a former cellphone company that now works to close the “digital divide” by providing school districts with connectivity tools, such as outfitting buses with Wi-Fi. Those buses will be deployed to low-income neighborhoods to serve as mobile hotspots, said Schwartz.”
“Many students, particularly those from low-income families, might have an internet connection, but it’s likely on a mobile device, Krueger says.
Students living in rural areas may also lack cellphone reception, let alone reliable, high-speed internet access at home. Some districts have partnered with vendors such as Kajeet or found other creative ways to ensure students have sufficient Wi-Fi access.”
“The district is going to purchase 2,000 Kajeet Smartspots, internet WiFi hotspots that operate on a network of five different 4G cell phone service providers. This will make sure all students within the district have internet access to engage in their classes.”
“But as for the district’s long-term plans, administrators hope to start using online learning methods, once the district can ensure equal access to those materials. The results of a family survey show that several district families don’t have adequate internet access.
Mike Ribble, director of information technology for the district, said that in his discussions with other district leaders, the administrators determined that the best way to address that issue was to rent the 1,500 mobile data hotspots from Kajeet, a wireless provider, for $382,500. Families in need of internet access will take those hotspots home, and those hotspots will use mobile data from Verizon to provide local WiFi access at those families’s homes.”
“Need Internet access but don’t have broadband? Schools wrestling with how to help their students during this unprecedented crisis will want to hear Daniel Neal, Kajeet (@Kajeet) Founder & CEO, on another remote edition of Reality Check. Learn what he and Kajeet are doing now to “bridge the digital divide” and what you can do to respond to or get help during this challenging time.”
About Kajeet Solutions
Kajeet has been privileged to help underserved student populations gain equitable access to the Internet for several years. Now, with the COVID-19 outbreak, that mission is more essential than ever.
Our SmartSpot® solution is a filtered Wi-Fi hotspot which, through our partnership with major US Cellular carriers, allows students to access educational content on the Internet. Before the COVID-19 outbreak, we’d partnered with over 1000 schools and districts to help close the Homework Gap and improve student achievement.
With many schools switching to online-only curricula for the remainder of the school year and beyond, it is more important than ever to connect these underprivileged students. At Kajeet, we are humbled to be able to assist educators and students in these uncertain times.
We have responded to the need for Education Broadband for remote learning by expanding our Distance Learning Bundles to include flexible service terms and higher data amounts per month. The shortened contract terms will minimize costs to schools and enable them to quickly adjust to conditions as they evolve, while the increased data plan sizes will accommodate heavier student data usage throughout the day.