Solving the Digital Divide in Collinsville, Illinois

Today, I couldn’t be prouder of our team, our vendors and the partnership with our customer Collinsville Community Unit School District #10 (CUSD 10).

Collinsville PLTE_v5_3-29-21

CUSD announced this morning the launching of their Private LTE Network to bring secure (CIPA compliant) internet connectivity to approximately 500 students in the Fairmont City and State Park communities. It’s an amazing story of innovative thinking and execution on a vision and plan to solve a real problem facing schools and communities everywhere. The lack of reliable and cost-effective access to broadband internet connectivity. 

The Digital Divide is real and the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has highlighted how many communities and school districts have struggled with remote school and access to vital healthcare information that is largely unattainable for many poor and underserved areas.

Broadband truly is the 4th utility, right there with water, gas and electricity. Anyone with kids would know how internet access ranks in their household. We may need to revise  Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. 

There was no dry run for this pandemic, our worlds have been changed forever, forcing us to rethink how we work, learn and play. 

Collinsville CUSD 10 leveraged CARES stimulus funding and partnered with us to construct a private LTE network which utilizes technologies from Nokia and Cambium Networks. The network is among the first in the US built by a school district. 

The district explored many different options prior to deciding on private LTE; including hotspots, routers on school buses, routers on telephone poles and paying for internet providers to install service in affected areas.  Fundamentally, students shouldn’t have to drive to a park or a Chick-fil-A parking lot to get online. As of this morning in Collinsville, students have free internet access in their homes.

A well-known proverb is “Necessity is the mother of invention”. The need has never been greater, but there are options to solve the problem if you’re willing to think outside the box and embrace a new approach.

 

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