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Monday, March 16, 2020

Coming to a hotspot near you

As districts all over are going to virtual schooling, there is some good news from the FCC.  Chairman Pai has gotten lots of ISPs to sign the Keep Americans Connected Pledge.  While not designed to help schools, one of the provisions could be very helpful for urban/suburban districts where many students don't have home broadband.

The provision that could help those districts: each company "pledges for the next 60 days to:...(3) open its Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them."

So districts may be able to take advantage of that for students who don't have broadband at home.

I've reached out to the providers that I know have a lot of hotspots near my clients.  So far, no word on how they are opening their hotspots.

Here's what I've heard so far:
Comcast: offering their Internet Essentials plan free for the next 60 days for low-income families.
AlticeUSA (Cablevision/Lightpath): offering their Altice Advantage plan free for the next 60 days for low-income families any student without Internet access.
No word yet from Verizon.

Of course, this doesn't help districts in areas where hotspot coverage is, well, spotty.

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