Local News

Broadband Connectivity Growing for Students

(Michigan City, IN) - In partnership with Neo Network Development, Michigan City Area Schools has entered Phase 2 of a comprehensive project providing free wireless broadband internet access to a growing number of its students.


Funding for the wireless broadband project has been made possible by a $600,000 grant from the Indiana Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER).


Recently, a 60-foot pole and wireless equipment were installed at Knapp Elementary School, providing free wireless internet service to all MCAS-owned devices at approximately 300 homes within a one-mile radius of the school.


School officials said families in the area would be issued a free, pre-configured router that plugs into a standard home electrical outlet to access the service.


The router will enable school Chromebooks and tablets to access the internet and can be kept in the home until all students residing at that address have left the MCAS district. 


This week, MCAS contacted 65 households in grades PreK-12 living within the immediate coverage area, offering them the router. Once the functionality and service quality is verified, additional families will be contacted at these homes. 


“We are encouraging all 65 of these households to take advantage of this free access, even if they currently have other broadband services,” said Kevin McGuire, MCAS Director of Technology. “This will increase the internet bandwidth in these homes, enhancing their existing service for other family members."

McGuire also said the wireless equipment at Knapp is the latest to be installed on an MCAS building, providing “a swath of connectivity” through Michigan City.


Wireless Hubs now exist at Knapp, the Elston Building, and the Administration Building, providing free broadband to school-issued devices. The service limits access to streaming and video game outlets to ensure that students use the network to complete school-related tasks.


Knapp said work continues to improve performance and optimize the network, which will serve nearly 1,500 households when completed.


Neo Networks CEO Vince Aragona describes the MCAS project as a hybrid LTE/fiber network that utilizes existing MCAS-owned fiber, internet, and MCAS facilities.


“The MCAS project is a case-study example of how innovative K-12 school districts and their IT teams can leverage their assets and infrastructure to deliver fast, reliable, in-home connectivity for students and staff,” Aragona explained.

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