Sunday, April 14, 2024

Knowlton Township Elementary Rings in the New Year With Faster Internet

Board president Tammy Smith (center) wishes students and families a happy holiday season at Knowlton Township Elementary School’s board of education meeting on December 18. Photo by C. O’Chang.

Upcoming Dates: 

  • Fifth and Sixth grade spelling bee: Friday, January 19 
  • Next regular board of education meeting: TBD

Knowlton Township Elementary School’s staff must have landed on Santa’s nice list. At the board of education meeting on December 18, Superintendent Jeannine DeFalco announced that starting January 1, the school will switch to Newton-based Planet Networks as its internet service provider.

Staff members present greeted the news with relief. Slow internet speeds have been a long-running issue. One Knowlton educator at the meeting remarked that the school’s internet speeds have been so slow, teachers have used personal hotspots on their cellphones to finish lesson planning.

Media specialist Kimberly Reber agreed. She commented that although her job is to teach the students technological skills, she just as often teaches them patience while they wait for the internet to load. 

“Come January 1, it will be much better,” DeFalco said.

Board member Todd Spain also expressed optimism based on his personal experience. Planet Networks provides internet service to his home, and “it flies.” 

The website BroadbandNow.com shows a coverage map for Planet Networks, Knowlton Elementary’s new internet service provider. 

Board member Matt Bailey questioned the savings over the school’s previous internet service provider. DeFalco put the per-month savings at $640, a price that is locked in for the duration of the school’s three-year contract. Reber confirmed a substantially lower price over the previous internet service provider. 

With healthy skepticism, board member Dawn Bates asked if Planet Networks charges a fee for early termination in the event that it fails to provide efficient service or something else goes wrong. DeFalco did not immediately have an answer and resolved to look into the matter. 

In its October 2022 Broadband Facts disclosure, Planet Networks listed its typical upload and download speeds as 250 megabits per second. Its coverage is inconsistent in Warren County, with 54% availability in Andover and 29% in Blairstown according to bestneighborhood.org.

The new internet contract was one of several positive reports, including news of a “well-attended” winter concert on December 12.

“It’s fantastic to see how much our band has grown and they sounded wonderful,” said Vice Principal Dana Carroll. 

The board also crowned two new Knowlton Knights, a kindergarten student who is “a friend to all” and a third grade “class leader” who “shows how a Knowlton Knight should act.”

Board president Tammy Smith wished the new knights, their families and the other families of Knowlton Township Elementary School a merry Christmas and a “safe and wonderful holiday season,” with a cheery warning to watch out for growth spurts over winter break. 

Chip O'Chang
Chip O'Chang, Contributing Writer
Contributing Writer

Chip O'Chang is an educator, fiction writer, and lifelong resident of New Jersey. He has also written for My Life Publications and NJ Indy. He lives in the NJ Skylands with his partner, two cats, and and a bearded dragon.