Facebook is giving students access to the Internet.
On Tuesday, the company announced a new pilot program to provide free Wi-Fi access to high school students in Forest City, North Carolina, a Facebook data center site. The company is working with a North Carolina-based nonprofit Internet provider called PANGAEA, Tech Crunch notes.
In recent months, Facebook was thought to be losing its appeal among teens, though a recent survey from Forrester Research found that younger people are using the site in greater numbers and with more frequency than other social networks. But Facebook once admitted during an earnings call last year that it was having trouble keeping young teens on the site.
Facebook is building off a previous initiative by Rutherford County Schools that provided more than 6,000 of the district's middle and high school students with personal laptops. Administrative officials soon learned that nearly half of those students had no access to Wi-Fi at home, the statement said.
As of right now, Facebook says it is providing the service to 75-100 homes in neighborhoods surrounding a school. The company worked with the town to create and establish Wi-Fi end points that give the entire area coverage. Facebook says it hopes to expand the program if the trial is successful.
“This program is still very early in its development,” Facebook’s Keven McCammon wrote in an announcement. “And we all have a lot of work to do to build out this network and ensure that it performs well for the students who need it.”