The Ogden School District Board of Education has approved a proposal to establish a wireless network that can provide free internet access at home to any Ogden student in need.
Chief Technical Officer Casey Bowden delivered the presentation during the Feb. 18, 2021 Ogden Board of Education meeting. The proposal was unanimously approved by all board members present. LTE is a term used in cellular communications to refer to Long Term Evolution, the current global standard in high-speed cellular technology. “Ogden SD LTE” (Ogden School District Learning & Technology Elevated) will create a mesh network providing coverage throughout all of Ogden City.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic Ogden School District had been working towards the goal of 1:1 technology; one personal technology device such as a tablet or Chromebook for every student in the district. With the state directive for all schools to switch to remote learning in March 2020, Ogden School District accelerated the process and achieved 1:1 status during the 2020-2021 school year. Ogden School District also acquired over 1,000 mobile wireless hotspots to provide internet access to every family that indicated they did not have reliable internet access outside of school. These third-party mobile hotspots, while a helpful temporary solution, are not viewed as an ideal long-term solution.
“Right now hotspots with unlimited data… from [a third-party vendor] cost about $20 per month. Looking at this model we’re looking at about $2 per month. Imagine what you could do with unlimited internet to any number of students in the district… it’s so amazing!” Bowden said during his presentation to the board.
This is the culmination of a process which has taken over a year to develop. Now, with board of education approval, the will move from concept to implementation with the first of several radio towers transmitting the wireless signal expected to be functional in approximately eight weeks with the entire network expected to be online in less than 12 months.
The Ogden SD LTE is not a competitor with commercial internet access. The network will be available only through school-issued devices and will provide high-speed CIPAcompliant internet access via the UEN network. This means that students will have unlimited access to educational resources, but will be restricted from commercial and recreational internet access such as game and video streaming services.
“All of our Chromebooks would be preconfigured with our hotspots and our hotspots would be on our LTE back to our network, through our firewalls, our filtering; all of the safety precautions we have at school, they would get instantly at home,” Bowden explained. He added, “this technology has the potential to change Ogden School District forever.”
About Ogden School District:
Ogden School District serves the city of Ogden, educating approximately 11,500 students. The district has a tradition of academic excellence enhanced by the values of a culturally rich and diverse community. Roughly 55% of Ogden students are ethnic minorities and approximately 75% come from low-income homes. For more information visit www.ogdensd.org.