Coconino County has been leading the effort to bring high-speed broadband internet with SpaceX’s Starlink to students in grades K-12 on the Navajo Nation.
Coconino County began conversations with SpaceX when District 5 Supervisor, Lena Fowler, and Coconino County’s Chief Information Officer, Matt Fowler, both met with the company in 2019. This resulted in securing accounts for the county to utilize SpaceX beta technology to make internet accessible to rural areas of Northern Arizona. Coconino County successfully became an early customer, purchasing and launching Starlink beta internet in a 45-household trial on May 6, 2021.
Shortly after, the county identified K-12 students living on the Navajo Nation without access to the internet or existing speeds less than five Mbps download and three Mbps upload. The County Information Technology Department engaged with the Board of Supervisors and the Flagstaff Unified School District, seeking collaboration opportunities to identify eligible students living on the reservation.
To date, approximately 150 households have received Starlink hardware and internet services for a free 2-year period, which was made possible by private donations. This provides students the ability to connect with education providers and continue their studies remotely.
“We know the critical need for quality, reliable internet access to rural Coconino County. Our families and workforce need to be connected to compete in today’s market, grow in their education, and enhance their quality of life. Coconino County, once again, leads the way by providing internet access through an innovative and resourceful partnership,” Supervisor Lena Fowler explained.
Starlink is now available across Arizona. Those interested in service should visit https://www.starlink.com/ for up-to-date eligibility and pricing information.
“This journey would not have been possible without the continuous teamwork from SpaceX, County Management, our Board of Supervisors, and FUSD. We rely heavily on our public and private partners to offer internet where it historically has been unavailable. This is truly an exciting moment,” commented CIO Matt Fowler.