SSUSD building LTE internet network – News – Ridgecrest Daily Independent – Ridgecrest, CA

Valley-wide federally-funded $2M network will provide connection for students and staff

There has been little certainty for students heading into the second half of the school year with one major question looming over everyone’s heads: will students return to campus?

And although the answer isn’t explicitly clear, yet, Sierra Sands Unified School District is trying to cover all of its bases. 

One of the major moves SSUSD is making was announced by superintendent Dave Ostash on Thursday afternoon via ParentSquare:

“In the coming months, the district is building a $2 million federally-funded private LTE network that will provide permanent, valley-wide internet connection for students and staff,” he said.

Donnie Morrison, Chief Technology Officer for SSUSD, provided further information regarding the network, including how the district will handle the initial roll-out, as well as household size and bandwidth management.

“We are looking at a 3- to 6-month roll-out, meaning we should be able to start bringing the first connection online within about 3 months and full implementation is expected to be completed within 6 months,” Morrison said.

The first step, according to Morrison, is conducting a community-wide RF (radio frequency) Survey and Design, scheduled to occur around mid- to late-January.

“As for bandwidth, the solution has been designed to deliver 8 to 10 Mbs per household, but we will have the ability to dynamically adjust the bandwidth to each household,” Morrison said.

“For instance, a household with only one student will need far less bandwidth than a household with 4 or 5 students, and we will have the ability to dynamically allocate the appropriate bandwidth to each household.”

The network would be free to use for students, with the possibility of expansion to other entities — but the priority, for now, remains on SSUSD staff and students.

Ostash said in the announcement that the network does not indicate that schools would not be reopening.

“As we head into 2021 we are resolved that schools will safely open for students and staff, and that hope and redemption will be the operating theme. We will have learned so much from the last many months, and we will purposefully integrate what we have learned into a ‘new normal,’” Ostash said.

“Out of very difficult times, the Sierra Sands legacy from the pandemic will be that we emerged better and stronger after some trying times.”