Broadband for Montana schools funding available

By Star Staff

Two Montana public schools have been awarded state match funds to pay for special construction charges for broadband upgrades, increasing Internet access for their students.

The Broadband for Montana Schools program has approved funding for Belfry kindergarten-grade 12 schools and West Valley Elementary School in Kalispell. West Valley Elementary has already completed its project to construct a lit fiber network, increasing Internet speeds to 100 megabits per second, according to a news release from the Montana Department of Commerce.

Thanks to $2 million in funding made possible through House Bill 390, and assistance from the nonprofit EducationSuperHighway, improved broadband connectivity is now a reality for more Montana schools. Broadband for Montana Schools provides a state match to leverage broadband funds available through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) E-rate program for Montana’s public K-12 schools.

“Reliable high-speed Internet access is a critical part of growing Montana’s economy,” Montana Department of Commerce Director Pam Haxby-Cote said. “Our schools are often the center of our communities, and this funding will go a long way in boosting broadband access for public schools and in turn our communities.”

School leaders are encouraged to apply directly to the program at