Statement from Huntsville City Schools regarding wifi conflict

(HUNTSVILLE, AL) - The following is a statement from Huntsville City Schools regarding a dispute with Verizon over their agreement to provide wireless internet service to families of students within the district. Click here for our story.

In November, 2014, Huntsville City Schools began offering OmniLynx discounted broadband wireless services to its employees.  In January, 2015, HCS extended the offer to parents and the community, and shared that announcement in a presentation at the Huntsville City Schools Board of Education Meeting on January 13, 2015. During that meeting, a government sales manager for Verizon Wireless, endorsed the OmniLynx program, stating that, "… the key word was partnership. We have been working with you guys in link over the past 8 or 9 months and I just cannot say enough about how that's gone.  Its really fantastic.  I'm very pleased to announce everything that Jacob (with HCS) just went over."  He added that, "We have gone to a nationwide type level that I had to get some approvals for these prices…. We both have the same goal and that is to better educate the children in the city of Huntsville."  The OmniLynx Program would have created a way to provide free internet to school children who live in poverty.

Our enabling agreement with Verizon for OmniLynx was the WSCA (Western States Contracting Alliance Agreement).  We entered into this WSCA for discounted broadband wireless with the stated intention of developing the OmniLynx Program to support the education of low income students.  Verizon provided consultation, hardware and extolled the virtues of OmniLynx in a publicly broadcast meeting with the Board of Education (see video link below).   There is no provision in the WSCA agreement that would prohibit any aspect of the services offered through the OmniLynx.  Therefore, Verizon's statement about the district violating the terms of the agreement is completely false. In fact, Verizion provided the equipment, training, and connected the lines that allowed our OmniLynx program to provide the services extended to the public with the objective of expanding WiFi service to support education.

The statement by Verizon that it "has notified the school system it will support only those lines within the scope of the agreement" is also completely false.  On October 30, 2015, Verizon notified Huntsville City Schools that it would discontinue all services, stating that,"Verizon's notice of cancellation is for the HCS Participating Addendum in its entirety."  The notification states that Verizon is only willing to continue any services with HCS if it agrees to enter into a new agreement.  The district will not enter into a future agreement with a company that is prone to cancel existing agreements at will and without regard to the impact of such cancellation on our students.