Haenisch: Dependable internet access might save rural Texas – Opinion – Austin American-Statesman

As Texas educators redesigned teaching on the fly in the spring of 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the frustration level among educators and parents was high. For families there was the stress of being together 24/7 along with the day-to-day issues of schooling: homework, inconsistent internet and, in many cases, no internet at all, establishing a routine for home-school, and too many more to count.

The stories educators can tell about the challenges remote learning presented for them and their students. Talk about blended learning – schools became responsible for producing paper packets with lessons for those without internet or computers and online lessons for students with internet connectivity.

Many parents and educators can tell of slow internet where at times students might watch a screen with a spinning circle for 45 minutes waiting for the internet to connect. A lesson planned for 30 minutes might take hours to complete as the signal would fade in and out, and the child would still have three more classes to complete.

The Texas Association of Community Schools is an organization that works with small and mid-sized school districts in Texas. While our members come from all parts of the state, it is fair to say that the majority of our members are from rural communities. The pandemic has been cruel for all Texans, but especially to those in rural areas. Let me tell you why:

According to Connected Texas, approximately 300,000 rural Texas families do not have access to broadband internet connectivity which is defined as a minimum of 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload speed. What does that mean to the 300,000 families without broadband internet connectivity? It means that even if a school district provided a laptop or Chromebook with a hot spot to every school-aged

Modi launches property card scheme to aid rural households

MUMBAI (Reuters) – Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a property card scheme on Sunday that he vowed would provide clarity of property rights in villages and enable farmers to use their property as collateral for loans from financial institutions.

Two-thirds of India’s population lives in rural areas, where few possess proper land records and property disputes are common.

“This is a historic effort towards rural transformation,” Modi said in a webcast speech while launching the programme.

The government plans to use drone technology to map land parcels in rural areas and cover some 620,000 villages over the next four years, Modi said.

“Despite owning houses, people were facing multiple problems while borrowing from banks. These people can now borrow very easily from banks after showing property cards issued under ownership scheme,” Modi said.

An initial batch of 100,000 people from over 750 villages across six states will begin to receive the digitised property cards this month.

Each card will have a unique identity number similar to the Aadhaar card – the world’s biggest biometric identity project, covering more than a billion people in India.

(Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; Editing by William Mallard)

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Verizon, T-Mobile launch home Internet services powered by 4G LTE networks in rural San Diego County

New 5G networks were supposed to be the battleground where wireless carriers began competing with cable and fiber providers in the home Internet market.

But with ultra-fast 5G not widely available yet, both Verizon and T-Mobile have recently rolled out home Internet services powered by their 4G LTE cellular networks.

These 4G broadband offerings aren’t promising blazing-fast speeds. But they are relatively inexpensive and target more rural areas where sluggish DSL Internet service is common.

Last week, Verizon rolled out LTE Home Internet in rural communities in 48 states. It promises download speeds of 25 megabits per second on average, with upload links at 3 to 5 megabits. It’s unlimited, meaning there are no data usage caps.

Verizon’s LTE Home costs $40 per month for people who are current Verizon Wireless customers, and $60 per month for people who aren’t. Subscribers also need to buy a $240 router, which can be purchased in monthly installments over two years.

“We built this product off of our existing 4G LTE network, and we are offering it in places where we have capacity in our network to support this kind of experience while maintaining the mobile experience that we have,” said Brian Danfield, vice president of Verizon 5G commercialization.

Verizon Wireless is offering home Internet service through its 4G LTE network.

FILE – This June 4, 2014, file photo shows signage at a Verizon Wireless retail store at Downtown Crossing in Boston. Verizon, the nation’s largest wireless provider, reports quarterly financial results on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

(The Associated Press)

LTE Home is available in areas where Verizon doesn’t offer its fiber-optic FiOS Internet service or its millimeter-wave 5G Home product. The company provided a list of zip codes where the service is available, including San Diego County backcountry communities such as Julian, Dulzura, Pala, Valley Center and Warner Springs.

“It

Broadband Internet Pilot to Support Access to Healthcare, Jobs and Education for Thousands in Rural Virginia

– Projects in the Northern Neck, Surry and Botetourt counties will help bridge the digital divide in Virginia through partnerships with Internet Service Providers

– Pilot projects will help improve economic and education opportunities related to broadband access in unserved areas of Virginia, if approved

– Dominion Energy Virginia to serve as middle mile provider, enabled by the Grid Transformation & Security Act of 2018

RICHMOND, Va., Oct. 9, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Residents in rural parts of Virginia could gain access to broadband internet critical for jobs, healthcare and education under three pilot projects proposed Oct. 1 by Dominion Energy Virginia.  


(PRNewsfoto/Dominion Energy)

Thanks to support from the Virginia General Assembly and collaboration with electric cooperatives and Internet Service Providers, the proposed Rural Broadband Pilot projects would extend broadband internet to citizens in Surry County, Botetourt County and the Northern Neck, if approved by the State Corporation Commission. The proposal includes nearly 300 miles of middle-mile fiber and would cost approximately $29 million to construct.

“With so many Virginians working and learning from home due to COVID-19, access to reliable internet is an absolute necessity,” said Ed Baine, president of Dominion Energy Virginia. “We hope these partnerships are the first of many, and we’re optimistic about how much these efforts could help communities here in our home state.”

More than 500,000 Virginians still live without easy access to high-speed internet. Extending broadband internet access would support economic development, social equity, public safety, educational opportunities, and healthcare services for citizens of the Commonwealth.

In rural areas, it’s not cost effective for Internet Service Providers to lay the fiber necessary to reach less-populated communities with broadband internet. Dominion Energy is in a unique position to help bridge the digital gap. The company is installing new infrastructure as it moves forward

Election 2020: Labour promises $60m for better rural internet

Labour is promising to get better internet and cellphone coverage in the regions with a $60 million fund that will invest in projects that improve access.

Labour’s communications spokesperson Kris Faafoi said the Covid-19 crisis had shown the need for good internet.

“The Covid pandemic has highlighted the vital role digital connectivity plays across New Zealand, including for our rural primary producing industries that link to some of New Zealand’s more remote, hard-to-reach places where internet services can be patchy,” Faafoi said.

A recent Federated Farmers survey of its members found that around 68 per cent of respondents had download speeds of 20 Mbps or less and nearly 24 per cent had speeds of 0-5 Mbps.

READ MORE:
* Labour promises $60m fund to improve broadband blackspots
* Broadband’s ‘stale donut’: Users near towns and cities suffer
* Coronavirus: Central Hawke’s Bay gets $2 million in Covid-19 relief to create jobs

Faafoi said the fund would be targeted at areas not reached by previous government initiatives to boost internet connections.

“This $60 million infrastructure fund is targeted at increasing connectivity in our worst connected regions to deliver faster, more reliable internet connections.

“The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment will be responsible for leading this work and will identify the worst affected areas with a focus on Gisborne, Manawatu-Wanganui, Auckland rural area, Otago, Hawke’s Bay (including Central Hawke’s Bay), West Coast, Taranaki, rural areas of Wellington, Wairarapa, and Southland.

“This will build on the wider digital programmes we have rolled out in government and expands on the $50 million Crown Infrastructure Partners funding already announced with a priority focus on Te Tai Tokerau, Bay of Plenty, Waikato, top of the South Island and Canterbury,” Faafoi said.

Communications spokesperson Kris Faafoi says Labour will boost broadband in the regions.

Scott Hammond/Stuff

Communications spokesperson Kris Faafoi says Labour will boost broadband in the regions.