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Verizon kills affordable WiFi program for schools in Alabama (update: response)

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Less than a year after starting OmniLynx, a program that provided low-cost WiFi access to schools in Huntsville, Alabama, Verizon is cutting ties with it. As reported by WHNT-TV, the city's education system recently sent a letter to customers notifying them of the network's decision. "We regret to inform you that your wireless service will terminate effective November 30, 2015," read the Huntsville school district's letter. "This termination of service and any resulting inconvenience has resulted from the service provider, Verizon Wireless." With OmniLynx, Huntsville residents would pay roughly $48 per month for unlimited data, powered by a free Verizon LTE hotspot which came included with the contract-free plan.

According to Dr. Casey Wardnyski, the Huntsville schools superintendent, what ticked Verizon off was that people outside his area started taking advantage of the initiative. In response, he told AL.com Verizon "had the capability to limit the service area," calling its vision "short-sighted." While it isn't clear if Verizon plans to reverse the call on pulling out of the partnership, the network did tell WHNT-TV it "will continue to discuss this situation directly with Huntsville city schools."

Update: Verizon says it's still committed to the program and wants to "resolve the situation," but that Huntsville City Schools was exceeding the limits of its agreement by offering access to the public at large. Check out its full statement below.

"At Verizon, we have a long-standing commitment to improve the lives of individuals and the communities we serve. This includes providing students and educators access to affordable technology to enrich the learning experience. In keeping with this commitment, Verizon agreed to offer certain discounted services to the Huntsville City Schools. The discounted services were intended to be used only by the school system. Acting outside the scope of the agreement between Verizon and Huntsville City Schools, the school system made the discounted services available to the general public. While Verizon has notified the school system it will support only those lines within the scope of the agreement, the company remains committed to supporting education in Huntsville and will continue to work in good faith with Huntsville City Schools to resolve the situation."

[Image credits: Shutterstock]

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