- The Decatur City Schools district in Alabama is taking part in an experiment that brings Wi-Fi connectivity to public school buses in an effort to better serve students who might not have Internet access at home.
- The idea is to have two buses move around and serve as hubs, providing a wireless connection to those within their reach.
- The pilot is an initiative of an 11-member committee in the district, which has also introduced a digital conversion plan that includes the elimination of textbooks and aims to provide 24/7 access to the Internet for students, eSchoolNews reports.
Though the idea of providing constant access to the Web for all students may seem attractive to administrators, it's also costly. Though the idea of providing free Wi-Fi citywide has come before the Decatur City Council, the price tag has proven prohibitive.
Decatur City Schools has also considered parking the Wi-Fi-enabled school buses in select locations where they could bring connectivity to various students' homes, but that concept would require a singling-out of disadvantaged students.
Another option being piloted by Alabama's Piedmont City district involved the use of nearly a million dollars worth of federal E-rate money to fund a "wireless mesh" that connects students.
"All the students inside the city limits receive free Internet that is paid for with school and city revenue. For those outside the city limits, city and school leaders negotiated a deal with an Internet provider that charges them $15 per month for access to high-speed broadband," eSchoolNews reports.