The city of Phoenix says it’s found a way to close the digital divide for a quarter million families. It’s called the Phoenix Digital Education Connection Canopy. It’s a collaboration by the city, Phoenix College and the Phoenix Union High School District.
Paul Ross, associate vice president of Phoenix College, was instrumental in figuring out how to use existing technology to provide a way for students to access free, secure high speed connections at home.
“In terms of ‘canopy’ what we’re referring to is being able to send a signal out to cover a much wider area. Think of a rain forest, think of a canopy…it’s designed to be able to cover a fairly wide area so that way it encompasses everything below the canopy,” Ross said.
They figured out this concept through lots of testing, reading and analysis of the technology that are evolving.
These collaborators, “did a tremendous amount of work over the last 12 to 18 months to look at different solutions and we found out there’s not one solution that fits all…we ended up moving towards a solution that really can provide that coverage and build what we are looking for which is a sustainable network,” Ross said.
He continued that it took a lot of effort from a lot of different teams from different entities coming together.
He said it took a lot of work to get into this. The technical team comprises of people from the City of Phoenix, a couple elementary school districts, a high school district and Maricopa Community colleges.
This helped them bring different viewpoints and perspectives into this project and they are all working towards the same goal. He said what is unique about this is that all of these different entities came together and are moving in the same direction.