Wi-Fi on Wheels: Proposal to provide Wi-Fi on School Buses

FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel has suggested that federal money be used to put Wi-Fi on school buses, which could help kids do their homework even more. I don’t know if kids would actually do their homework or put final touches on a project at 6:30 AM on a school bus, but it can’t hurt to try. The proposal would let E-rate program funds be used to buy wireless hot spots or other ways to connect the buses. Currently, E-rate funds are usually used to pay for school technology and internet connections

“The ‘homework gap’ is still a hard fact of life for millions of schoolchildren in urban and rural America. Rosenworcel coined the phrase “the homework gap” in a 2014 op-ed for the Miami Herald.  Wiring our school buses is a practical step we can take that is consistent with the history of the E-rate program. This common sense change could help kids who have no broadband at home,” said Rosenworcel in a statement announcing the proposed ruling. Rosenworcel announced the plan at the meeting of the National Coalition for Technology in Education & Training. 

Children spend on average anywhere between 45 to 60 minutes on a bus ride to school. If they do not have an internet connection, or even a stable connection at home, this would all be a great opportunity for children to complete assignments and provide an innovative way to address the digital divide. If Wi-Fi exists on subways, public busses, etc., then why not provide it on school busses. The technology is already here and available to do so.

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