Wireless connections drive our daily interactions. In recent months, however, staying at home while staying connected has transformed wireless connectivity from a convenience to an important tool enabling Americans to work from home, learn remotely, and communicate with their healthcare providers.
The steps taken by school districts and colleges and universities across the country to stay connected with students are proving the viability of online learning across all levels. COVID-19 is forcing change in a rapid fashion, showcasing the importance of virtual learning technologies and providing proof that educational standards can be met outside the traditional brick and mortar school environment.
For some in underprivileged communities, these connections have proved challenging. Since schools across the country closed their doors and students were instructed to complete their education from home, companies have stepped in to help children connect to the internet. By parking school buses with wireless routers in neighborhoods and public spaces, students in more than 35 school districts were able to continue their distance learning.
Meanwhile in Denver, when it became apparent that students could no longer come to her house for their weekly piano lessons, a 92-year-old instructor turned on FaceTime and continued teaching virtually. Each week, students knew to be at their pianos already warmed up and ready to learn when she dialed their number. Recently, the students performed at a recital hosted via Zoom.
Throughout the past few months, individuals, organizations, and businesses have stepped up in unprecedented ways to deliver goods and services in this time of need. From connectivity in makeshift hospitals to enabling distance learning, wireless is playing a pivotal role in #KeepingConnected during these challenging times.
While the FCC has temporarily granted cellular providers with access to more spectrum to meet Americans’ increased data usage, the need for more powerful wireless will continue to increase. With more demand for such capabilities, we need additional spectrum for the fifth generation of wireless to ensure a connected future that’s here to stay.