Demand for wireless internet paying off for schools

An ambitious plan to blanket the country with wireless internet access has an unlikely beneficiary, reports the Los Angeles Times: public and private schools. For nearly 20 years, five California State University campuses in the Los Angeles area have banded together to broadcast live courses over public airwaves that were long ago set aside by the federal government for distance learning. The spectrum isn’t as good as commercial TV, and until the late 1990s it required bulky rooftop receivers that needed a clear line of sight to broadcast towers on Mt. Wilson or Modjeska Peak. But technological advances have made the airwaves easier to use–and much more lucrative to hold. For Cal State Los Angeles, Long Beach, Dominguez Hills, Fullerton, and Pomona, as well as schools and religious institutions around the country, holding a license to the spectrum as the wireless industry expands has been like finding a winning lottery ticket in a dresser drawer. "Our bandwidth . . . is gold," said Warren Ashley, director of the Center for Mediated Instruction and Distance Learning at Cal State Dominguez Hills…

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