A partnership that aims to bring WI-FI to students

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The Isaac School District (ISD) is in a partnership with Arizona State University’s Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions and University Technology Office (UTO) with the successful installation of new equipment to extend the district’s wireless internet connection into the homes of its students. Together, the three organizations are working to close the digital divide for learners in the community. 

The partnership is being piloted at Moya Elementary, which serves students in grades K-5. At launch, the partnership will connect eight households living in the nearby Trailer Corral Community to the school’s internet for students to be able to complete online learning at home, with plans to connect additional schools and learners’ homes across the district soon. 

Together, teams at ASU’s Watts College and UTO are working with leaders from ISD to extend the district’s internet into the homes of students using millimeter wave technology. To do so, antennas have been installed on the school’s rooftop, as well as the rooftop of the students’ homes. 

The homes are also equipped with WIFI routers that connect to the rooftop antenna. TekCompass and Siklu are onsite to help with the management and installation of the antennas and routers. To date, antennas at the school and five student homes have been installed.

Host, Jose Cardenas talked with Berto Perez, the Director of Technology for Isaac School District about all this. He talked about the partnership that is going on with ASU. He said it is a technology concept that aims to connect families to internet access. 

This is different then laptops and hotspots being provided to the students. It provides access, but there are some challenges with them. He talked about some of those issues, like how the hot spot plans are dependent on cell signal. This causes challenges for some houses. A home with multiple students might also test the limits of what the hot spot can do. This connection is a full-time connection, and the limits are not there that cell service has. We talked about the homes connected to the pilot project and what the situations look like. 

Berto Perez, the Director of Technology for Isaac School District

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