LOVELAND, Colo. – Sept. 14, 2021 – The National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA) named Thompson School District (TSD) as a recipient of NATOA’s 2021 Community Broadband and Digital Equity Awards. Recognizing innovative programs in government, business and local communities nationwide, NATOA awarded TSD the COVID-19 Response Digital Equity Project of the Year – Distance Learning, for Thompson School District’s expansion of Pulse’s municipal fiber-to-the-premise network to the Big Thompson Canyon and the Lago Vista Mobile Home Park.
“The COVID crisis has demonstrated how critical local governments are to providing access to our most vulnerable communities, whether it be building infrastructure in underserved neighborhoods, distributing devices to support distance learning, or training isolated seniors,” noted NATOA president Brian Roberts. “The innovative and essential projects we are recognizing show how communities are stepping in to advance digital equity and fill broadband connectivity gaps.”
Earlier this year, Thompson School District applied for and was awarded $737,000 from the Connecting Colorado Students Grant program to expand reliable internet service to families in two areas within the Loveland community where connectivity is significantly limited or not available. With this grant, TSD and Pulse, the City’s community-owned communications utility, is building out infrastructure to students in parts of the Big Thompson Canyon and the Lago Vista Mobile Home Park. This award from NATOA recognizes the district’s efforts to provide equitable hardware, remote instruction and broadband access throughout the last school year.
In addition, TSD as part of the grant will sponsor a Pulse account for eligible students in these areas and pay for one year of 1 gigabit internet service. Service for students is expected to be available starting in late 2021 for Lago Vista and mid-year 2022 for the Big Thompson Canyon.
These two locations are among TSD’s most underserved areas as they pose geographic challenges that limit access to cabled internet service and strong enough cell phone service necessary to make hotspots a viable option.
“Many districts throughout the country worked tirelessly to provide student devices, remote instructional software and broadband connectivity to their students.” said Dr. Matt Kuhn, TSD chief technology officer. “We are so honored to be recognized for our efforts to do so for the TSD community. Loveland Pulse is a great partner to help close the digital divide, especially in those parts of our community that are least able to access broadband infrastructure.”
“We are happy to have Thompson School District recognized, as they have been an exceptional leader in the community, serving as a champion of needs in broadband and technology.” said Lindsey Johansen, Pulse communications and marketing manager. “We are very fortunate to have them as partner in developing actionable and long-term solutions here locally.”
A full list of 2021 award winners can be found at www.natoa.org/broadband-and-digital-equity. Recipients will be recognized at NATOA’s 2021 Annual Conference, to be held in virtually September 21 – 23.
Pulse is a trusted local utility connecting the Loveland community by offering affordable, reliable, and fast internet and voice service through a 100% fiber-optic network. The community-owned utility was established in 2018 and built on a promise of local service, transparency in rates and speeds, and responsiveness second to none. Pulse will be available to all residents and businesses within the City of Loveland approximately four years after construction began in November 2019. For more information, please visit LovelandPulse.com.
About Thompson School District
Thompson School District is the 17th largest school district in Colorado, encompassing 362 square miles and serving over 15,000 students. The district’s territory includes Loveland and Berthoud, plus sections of Fort Collins, Windsor, Johnstown, and unincorporated land in Larimer, Weld, and Boulder counties. TSD serves students in Pre-K through 12th grade with thirteen school-based preschool programs, a dedicated preschool building, one K-8 school, eighteen elementary schools, five middle schools, five high schools, and two charter schools. Teachers and administrators collaborate with families and community partners to ensure that students are college, career, and community ready. For more information, please visit thompsonschools.org.
NATOA’s Mission is to support and serve the communications interests and needs of local governments. We are a professional association made up of individuals and organizations responsible for – or advising those responsible for – communications policies and services in local governments throughout the country. For more information, please visit natoa.org.