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Construction on the first phase of a three-year internet access project across the district is underway. By the project’s completion, more than 500 facilities will be connected through a fiber optic network.

More than 300 miles of fiber will be installed under city streets as part of the effort to connect schools to the network, which will offer a bandwidth of up to 20 gigabits per second, CPS spokesperson James Gherardi said.

As the first round of elementary schools connects to the network by January, their internet service will be able to reach speeds about 40 times faster than before. High schools’ maximum speeds will be about 20 times faster.

At current speeds of about 500 megabits per second, entire elementary schools operate on a network with bandwidths commonly available to individual households.

Students and staff likely experience “a fair bit of performance pain” on the old network, said Nick Feamster, a University of Chicago computer science professor and digital divide researcher.

Read more at Block Club Chicago