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Are School Buses the Key to Closing the Digital Divide?

February 13, 2018

There are over five million American households with school-aged children who still lack broadband access in the home. Some of these children live in rural areas, where high-speed internet access is still struggling to cover “the last mile.” Some come from low-income communities where reliable internet access is too expensive to obtain.


Could the school bus be the solution?


The Many Benefits of Internet Access
WiFi is becoming an increasingly integral component of the American educational system. Research papers are assigned with a minimum number of digital resources required. College applications exist online, sometimes exclusively. Global research announcements and historical resources are uploaded to the internet every day, only accessible digitally.


Without reliable access to the internet, schoolchildren and teens miss out on valuable opportunities. In some cases, they’re forced to choose between spending time with family or an extracurricular activity and staying late in the school library to utilize the WiFi network.


The School Bus Solution

In many under-served areas, there is some evidence that school buses equipped with WiFi technology could help close the digital divide. For school districts, on-bus WiFi is a win-win: students gain access to potentially game-changing information while commutes become more purposeful. The benefits are even more pronounced for rural students whose commutes can stretch over an hour or more.


On-bus WiFi networks can be enabled with the same filtering technologies found inside schools. When using bus WiFi networks, schools can feel confident students aren’t accessing inappropriate content; some particularly granular filtering suites even filter out cyberbullying and other social networking behaviors.


The Technology Behind Onboard WiFi
Standalone bus WiFi solutions operate much the same way traditional wireless routers do. Attached to a central fixture in the bus such as the driver’s panel, routers open up WiFi access for all devices on the network; users are typically asked to login and agree to terms of service before use. Data usage is provided and tracked through the school’s wireless provider.


Comprehensive school bus technology suites like UbicaBus provide WiFi…and more. Buses equipped with UbicaBus’ innovative suite of tools also install a central piece of hardware that functions as a WiFi router, a GPS tracker, a video recording hub, and even a diagnostics center for the bus itself. It’s all managed through a holistic software platform designed for administrators to maintain complete control over what’s happening on their buses.

The modern classroom is expanding. What learning used to take place only inside schoolhouses is now taking place in media centers, in immersive programs, and yes, even on buses. Is your school’s bus fleet keeping up with the pace of technology?



Reach out to UbicaBus today to find out how easy it is to equip your buses with WiFi and implement game-changing technology. The school bus is going digital. Is your fleet ready?



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