|Company||Joint Venture Silicon Valley|
|City, State||San Jose, CA|
|COWs COLTs Aerostats for Emergency Distance Learning and Telemedicine Broadband Connectivity in Rural Areas|
|This white paper describes COWs (Cell-on-Wheels), COLTs (Cell-on-Light Trucks), and Aerostats (CCAs) used to provide cellular or Wi-Fi connectivity in areas without 4G. They are used to provide emergency communications during catastrophic events such as fighting forest fires in rural areas, and in aftermath of earthquakes, hurricanes, or floods. In California there have been a series of state-level broadband meetings focused on the need to provide an immediate response to fill the distance learning and telemedicine broadband access gaps to unserved rural households sheltering in place during the COVID-19 crisis. Some telecommunications providers and public libraries are offering free Wi-Fi hotspots with 4G service to take home; however, 4G hotspots only work in areas with cellular broadband service.|
|Connecting Rural School Children for Distance Learning|
|As the SARS-COV-2 virus spreads, and communities work to minimize COVID-19 cases, schools are closing and we expect all school physical facilities will remain closed for some period of time during this emergency. This will affect more than 76 million students across the US.
Many closing schools are shifting to online learning, but this transition won’t be easy. Students need three things to engage in successful distance learning; a suitable computing device, access to high-speed internet, and digital literacy.
|East Palo Alto Neighborhood Innovation Zone|
|Santa Clara County Office of Education CBRS Networks|
|Santa Clara County Office of Education and Joint Venture Silicon Valley are cooperating with industry leaders to deploy CBRS broadband networks for addressing distance learning and homework gap challenges.|
|Wireless Networks for Rural Distance Learning Telemedicine and Digital Inclusion|
|Most U.S. states have ordered residents to shelter-in-place in response to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. This presents significant challenges for residents in areas with poor or no broadband service, preventing them from using the internet to access distance learning resources, contact health care providers while remaining sheltered, accessing online shopping, and other online activities that most people take for granted.
Residents need three things to overcome digital inclusion gaps: a suitable computing device, high-speed internet, and digital literacy. People with Access & Functional Needs (AFNs) cannot easily overcome the digital inclusion challenge without assistance from local governments, telecommunication providers, and corporate partners. Some AFN communities are attempting to creatively solve the connectivity challenge by retrofitting school buses and “Bookmobiles” with Wi-Fi equipment and then parking them in neighborhoods with AFN residents. In some cases, schools and public libraries are petitioning the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to waive some E-rate rules so they can open up their networks to the surrounding community. There are some significant downsides to this approach:
An alternative that can provide broadband service to AFN residents in areas that are unserved or underserved by existing telecommunication networks is to enhance the 4G LTE infrastructure to provide additional coverage – specifically indoor coverage – to a broader range of locations, by building temporary wireless sites near the areas of need. Once the sites are in place, government or community groups can provide AFN residents with a hotspot, or an inexpensive smartphone to be used as a Wi-Fi hotspot. There are various configurations possible to provide broadband service to the largest number of AFN residents while keeping costs low, utilizing available equipment, and operating within legal and regulatory constraints:
This concept paper Wireless Networks for Distance Learning details each of these configurations, examines the pros and cons of each method, and explores funding options.