The challenges of COVID-19 left schools across the US scrambling to find solutions to help students continue learning at home. But those challenges were amplified by another increasingly apparent fact; too many communities and students still do not have access to reliable internet.
In Arlington County, Virginia, community leaders were able to move quickly and keep students connected for online learning during the pandemic by deploying a private LTE network powered by shared spectrum called Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS).
While keeping students connected and safe during the pandemic was a big enough win on its own, community leaders in Arlington County see benefits that go beyond education. They’re looking to streamline online community services, attract new businesses, and bridge the digital divide by getting reliable, affordable internet access to underserved communities.
Watch the video below to learn more about how CBRS and private wireless are bringing smarter solutions to Arlington County.
Putting the challenge for schools and underserved communities into context
The impacts of COVID-19 caught every type of business or organization off guard. But education was one of the spaces hit the hardest, particularly in underserved communities.
To put the scope of that impact into context, Zoom announced in late February of 2020 that it would offer schools free accounts to support remote learning. Less than two months later, Zoom had over 90,000 schools in 20 countries using their video conferencing application.
But applications and processes are just one half of the equation. Schools and underserved communities are also struggling with a digital divide, many students don’t have internet access that is affordable or reliable enough for remote learning.
According to Boston Consulting Group, 9 million students lacked adequate internet access to learn remotely from their homes in 2020 – the height of the pandemic.
Fortunately, CBRS-enabled Private LTE Networks are gaining traction as a solution that can close the gap for underserved communities.
Want to see how CBRS or private wireless could work for your community?
Reach out and we will connect you with a solutions expert to tell you more