HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – WHNT News 19 has an update on a tense partnership between Huntsville City Schools and Verizon Wireless. Huntsville City Schools says they did not violate “terms of the agreement” and those claims by Verizon Wireless are false.
Last year, Huntsville City Schools secured advanced technology at an affordable price. It’s called OmniLynx. The goal was to provide affordable internet service for employees, parents and students. But, the Huntsville community could also sign up.
That’s precisely why Verizon Wireless says they’re bailing out.
The OmniLynx is a portable hotspot that looks to bridge the digital gap during the introduction of digital textbooks. It costs about $47 per month.
Verizon Wireless is soon cutting off the power, though. The company claims their agreement with the city was only to offer these services for employees and children who live in poverty.
“The statement that Verizon made about the reason for canceling this contract is totally false,” said Keith Ward, spokesperson for Huntsville City Schools.
Ward said this is a multi-state service.
“There is nothing that states we can’t do what we’re doing,” Ward added.
Ward referred to the online registration site for clarity. On the third category when you sign up, it gives an option for ‘City of Huntsville resident.’
Ward says the benefits are far-reaching — in far away places.
“This keeps the kids connected. They can still do their homework, even when they are on vacation.”
Still, Verizon Wireless claims this is beyond the scope of agreement and they have the right to pull out.
Under account features, it says “no contracts.”
Verizon says they are only willing to continue services if a new agreement is reached.
However, Huntsville City Schools says that’s not going to happen, especially with a company that’s prone to canceling out on kids.
“Doing this, they didn’t do it without any thought for what the end result would be to the students,” said Ward.
As it stands now, services for OmniLynx are being pulled on November 30th. Huntsville City Schools says they’re looking for alternative options, but there could be a lapse of service for 1,900 users.
And with school-issued laptops and no wi-fi, that can only mean one thing: Kids could be impacted and so could grades.
WHNT News 19 will continue to press for answers on this issue.