Schools to use SpaceX satellite internet

December 20, 2020

The Wise County school system is the first in Virginia to use the SpaceX Starlink satellite internet constellation to connect students with high-speed broadband.

The school district announced the news Dec. 14.

In collaboration with the county Board of Supervisors, the schools project will initially provide free internet service to 45 families, according to a press release. The service will be active early in 2021.

As network capability grows, the service will expand to add 90 more families.

The COVID-19 pandemic created a situation in which the school system “had to quickly pivot to virtual instruction last March and it was apparent that the lack of broadband access is a crisis in Wise County,” schools Superintendent Greg Mullins said.

Mullins credited supervisors and County Administrator Mike Hatfield for their efforts. He thanked county Circuit Court Clerk Jack Kennedy, a former state legislator, for working with U.S. Sen. Mark Warner’s office to facilitate the project.