BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — When COVID hit, the Rosedale Union School District decided to use their secret weapon to go beyond the hot spots and bring internet connections to entire households.
A radio tower was built back in 2015 for Rosedale Union School buses to communicate with one another. When COVID hit, the union had someone climb the tower and install transmitters that would then send a radio signal to receivers in the students' homes. That way it wasn’t just a hotspot for a couple of devices, but could provide internet to an entire household.
"If there was a family that had internet already and they weren’t able to use it, because either the equipment was getting old or it wasn’t set up to be optimally used. We ended up going in and we made a couple of changes on the wifi so they could learn correctly," said Britton Smith, the director of information technology at Rosedale Union School District.
- READ ALSO: Kern County looks to bridge the digital divide to provide better internet access for students, residents
Smith says they helped about 1,200 families this way and brought internet access through the tower to almost 300 students. This, he adds, was crucial to making sure all students stayed on track in their studies.
The tower is also used by cell providers to strengthen the signal for the community members who use their services in the Rosedale area, not just helping students but everyone stay connected.
Although now only about 50 students are using the receivers, it has become crucial for a lot of those new students coming from a different country as a lot of the online work here has to do with learning the English language.