PITTSBURG, Ks. — The city of Pittsburg is collaborating with the Pittsburg Community School District to help connect students and families to 4G LTE internet.

Brad Hanson, Asst. Superintendent, Pittsburg Community School Dist., said, “So, we just named the program DragonNet. That’s designed to provide initially free cost internet service, to our families that are in need.”

Dragon Net will provide an estimated 750 to 800 families with internet service, who would otherwise have to go without. This 1.1 million dollar inactive will be covered by state and federal grants, as well as Pittsburg city funds.

Jay Byers, Deputy City Manager, Pittsburg, said, “We feel that we’re playing the proper role in bringing a significant benefit to the children in our community. And that’s really an important part for us.”

The city will provide the infrastructure for the project, building about six antennas around town. One of those will be located at the top the Memorial Hall.

“There’s a lot of pieces that have to be put in place technically. We have to make sure there’s connectivity to all the sites. And we also have to bury some fiber in the ground, we have to run connection and electricity to the power sites.”

School leaders say the need for this program is great as many families don’t have good, stable access to internet in their homes.

“About 20% of our families indicated that they did not have quality, consistent internet service. And so, with COVID being a part of things now. And moving into a 1 to 1 environment, we know that kids having access at home is going to be critical,” said Hanson.

The program comes at no cost to the families who qualify. The Pittsburg community school district will be notifying families when they can apply to be a part of this program.