Broadband & Digital Equity
Texas County Contracts to Build Private Wireless Network to Support Rural Students
- By Dian Schaffhauser
Texas county with an all-digital public library is taking on the job
of developing a private wireless network to support its rural and
economically poor students. Bexar
which includes San Antonio, recently announced the project, which
will serve students in the Southwest
Independent School District,
as a pilot project. The county is working with nonprofit Southwest
under a $900,000 contract, to design and implement the private LTE
network, dubbed "BiblioTech Connect." If the project works,
it could be scaled up throughout the county, to serve additional
districts. The county's BiblioTech
which opened in 2013, provides a completely digital collection as
well as access to technology to all residents.
ISD found that 11 percent of its students--about 1,500--lacked
adequate bandwidth to support digital learning. Across the county,
about 21 percent of students lack internet access, according to a
by the University
of Texas at San Antonio.
providers that are working on the project include Wytec
a Texas telecommunications firm, which will design the network, and
which will supply the network technology, including its Nokia
Digital Automation Cloud
new set-up will take advantage of Citizens Broadband Radio Service
(CBRS) spectrum, which has been pushed by the Federal Communications
Commission for private networks. According to the vendors, the use of
CBRS band can reduce the expense of deployment while supporting
features, such as bandwidth control and content filtering.
Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.