COVID-19 dramatically changed the way schools functioned in 2020 as they rapidly adjusted to remote learning. This exposed the “Homework Gap” of students with no or poor home Internet access – over 20% of US households.
While many schools have provided MiFi hotspots to students, this is not a long-term solution. IT managers drowned in the cost and logistics of managing thousands of devices. Schools must be prepared to support remote learning in the future and need sustainable, permanent solutions.
National governments have responded to COVID-19 with different programs to help fund recovery from the pandemic’s impact. The US Congress established the $7.2 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) as part of the American Rescue Plan of 2021 to reimburse expenses for equipment and services used for Internet access outside of the school. The application filing window opened June 29, 2021. More information on the program can be found here.
Other US Federal programs provide funding that may have applicability to the Homework Gap, including:
Strategies and Solutions for the $7.2B Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) Homework Gap
Featuring Andrew Moore, CIO of Boulder
Valley School Districts
Bridging the Homework Gap with the New $7.2B Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF)
Featuring Jim Hinsdale, President of
Live Wire Networks
As an alternative to costly MiFi, Cambium’s fixed wireless solutions and its network of wireless ISPs (WISPs) can extend school networks to reach students where they are learning remotely.
Wireless solutions can complement existing solutions that include wired, cellular or other technologies. Cambium Networks offers a wide range of flexible solutions to bridge the Homework Gap and bring long-term value through:
Extend your existing Wi-Fi network to your outdoor campus facilities or community gathering places such as playgrounds, church parking lots and parks using private LTE, high-throughput mmWave technology or proprietary wireless solutions. Seamlessly manage the outdoor Wi-Fi just as you would inside your facilities but at a fraction of the cost compared to wired solutions.
Connect your under-connected student body or community members with a dedicated wireless solution. Avoid trenching expensive cables by simply installing an outdoor-plus-indoor device and have instant connectivity. Manage the entire network from a single pane of glass.
Short on time and need to expand connectivity quickly? Leverage cellular networks’ outdoor routers and outdoor Wi-Fi hotspots from Cambium Networks to quickly extend coverage from playgrounds to residential neighborhoods.
In addition to schools, fixed wireless solutions can deliver access to the broader community through a sustainable network solution. Service providers that are skilled in providing broadband networks install and manage the networks, allowing schools to focus their resources on excellence in education. Explore our fixed wireless broadband solutions for business and residential applications.
The deployment of a reliable, high-performance network is going to transform our community, allowing our students to connect to their classes virtually and enabling our workforce to elevate its knowledge and capabilities.Dr. J.A. Gonzalez, Ed.D., Superintendent of McAllen Independent School District
Recent connected school projects:
Collinsville Community Unit School District #10 partnered with IT solutions provider STEP CG to construct a private LTE network which utilizes technologies from Nokia and Cambium Networks.
McAllen, Texas Community Broadband – The Mayor, Superintendent of Schools and communications service providers collaborated to deploy a community-wide access network serving thousands of students.
Remote Education for Western US Tribal Nations – Community leaders and communications consultants connected more than 100,000 people in 11 Native American Tribal communities.
Cambium Networks has an extensive base of Service Provider partners. They have the expertise to assist and deploy all these solutions on your behalf.