Students at Barkley-Ruiz Elementary School peered curiously from behind an iron fence Friday morning as an industrial machine bored a hole into the ground underneath their campus.

They were there to witness the beginning of a months-long process to update San Antonio Independent School District’s internet infrastructure, increasing capacity and speeds.

SAISD officials plan to install almost 80 miles of fiber-optic cable to connect each district campus and office to one central high-speed network that SAISD will control and operate. SAISD currently works with AT&T for internet services, Superintendent Pedro Martinez said.

The project is planned for completion by June 2020, in time for students to take advantage starting in the 2020-21 school year.

“Sometimes when you get high speed [internet] it isn’t consistent, depending on how many devices are on and how many people are using devices, it gets really inconsistent,” Martinez said. “That’s what happens in our classrooms everyday. … I constantly hear about it.”

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Emily Donaldson

Emily Donaldson reports on education for the San Antonio Report.