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‘Potential to change Ogden School District forever:’ Students to gain free internet access at home

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OGDEN, Utah (ABC4) – 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.

On February 18, a proposal for internet access 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.

According to Ogden school board officials, 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 was then able to accelerate the process and achieve 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,” shares the board. “These third-party mobile hotspots, while a helpful temporary solution, are not viewed as an ideal long-term solution.”

School board officials say they expect the first of several radio towers transmitting the wireless signal to be functional in approximately eight weeks, and once that is solidified the entire network will then be 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 CIPA compliant 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,” Chief Technical Officer Casey Bowden explains. “This technology has the potential to change Ogden School District forever.”

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