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Alabama Schools Say Verizon Cancelled Affordable Wi-Fi Program

November 6, 2015, 9:58 PM UTC
Childcare and Education To Be Key Election Issue
BRISTOL, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 26: A pupil uses a laptop computer during a english lesson at the Ridings Federation Winterbourne International Academy in Winterbourne near Bristol on February 26, 2015 in South Gloucestershire, England. Education, along with National Health Service and the economy are likely to be key election issues in the forthcoming general election in May. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
Photograph by Matt Cardy—Getty Images

In January, the Huntsville, Ala. school system announced that it would offer a discounted, unlimited Wi-Fi program for students through a Verizon partnership. Now, less than a year later, the school system says that Verizon has pulled the plug.

The discounted program, called OmniLynx, provided city residents with free hotspot equipment and unlimited internet access for $47.75 per month, no contract required. The goal was to provide students, and later, all Huntsville residents, with affordable internet access at home so they could study and work, according to

Last week, Verizon informed the school district that it was canceling the partnership, which went “beyond the terms of the agreement,” according to Consumerist. Says district superintendent Casey Wardnyski to “Their concern for education was dwarfed by some other concern.”

OmniLynx provided discounted internet access to 1,900 people by the time it was terminated. While city schools will continue to have Wi-Fi, city school bus Wi-Fi will be shut off.

In a statement to Fortune, a Verizon spokesperson said: “The discounted services were intended to be used only by the school system. Acting outside the scope of the agreement between Verizon and Huntsville City Schools, the school system made the discounted services available to the general public. While Verizon has notified the school system it will support only those lines within the scope of the agreement, the company remains committed to supporting education in Huntsville and will continue to work in good faith with Huntsville City Schools to resolve the situation.”

This story has been updated to include Verizon’s statement.