The one-room schoolhouse. The barber shop doubling as a healthcare clinic. These images of small town living tend to stand as notions of how things “used to be.” This is not to say that pared down public facilities have ceased to exist, or that all communities require or could support a sprawling institution of higher learning or a top-notch research hospital. However, what is working to bridge the resource gap in education and healthcare between cities and rural areas is fixed wireless broadband:
Medicine: At MetLife Stadium earlier this year, a medical trailer parked in the lot became a world-class emergency room through wireless broadband. This rapid-response trailer was outfitted with point-to-point technology, connecting the medical personnel in the trailer to their counterparts at Hackensack University Medical Center, a 900-bed teaching and research hospital in Hackensack, NJ.
Education: Similarly, distance learning via wireless broadband connection spreads high-quality education farther from its source. With an enhanced Internet connection enabling swift transfer of large files, video communication and multi-campus collaboration, students in disparate communities can learn from one another, and educators can swap best practices and further their training and attain new credentials.
To the latter application, wireless broadband provides connectivity from the University of Belize in the capital, Belmopan, to six primary schools. This high-bandwidth connectivity allows for widespread access to learning modules offered by the Caribbean Centre of Excellence for Teacher Training.
Wireless broadband’s prowess over water and other challenging environments also makes it ideal for cost effectively connecting buildings and campuses over varied terrain, in addition to long distances. At Weymouth College, a 160-year-old institution of more than 7,000 students in the UK, wireless broadband is cost effectively providing carrier-grade connectivity between the main campus and four satellite campuses, one connection stretching across Weymouth Bay.
These applications show how wireless broadband can extend the reach of smart city smarts to communities near and far, but certainly it’s just the tip of the iceberg in truly proliferating equal access to world-class healthcare and education. If you have witnessed a unique application of wireless broadband in healthcare or education, let us know in the comments below.