Facebook today announced a pilot initiative to support free internet via Wi-Fi to students, launching first in Forest City, North Carolina, in partnership with Pangaea, a nonprofit provider of high speed internet.

Forest City is a part of the Rutherford County school district, which recently started a program to provide a laptop to every middle and high school student in the area. While over 6,000 students have received a computer through the program, the district found that almost half of these students lacked an internet connection at home to go with the devices.

Facebook has a data center in the town, so it was a perfect candidate to help flesh out internet access in the area. The first part of the initiative will help cover 75-100 homes, and while there’s no word on whether Facebook plans to extend the project elsewhere, it’s a nice move by the social media company as internet access becomes more essential to education.

Facebook Pilots Free WiFi For Students’ Homes (TechCrunch)