A recent Mobile Beacon report analyzing mobile broadband usage by non-profit organizations, including schools, finds that schools utilizing Mobile Beacon’s 4G LTE internet service indicate that the ability to supplement and/or extend existing school networks is the greatest benefit of the service.

The report, “Creating Opportunity Through Connectivity: How Mobile Broadband for Anchor Institutions Impacts Communities,” analyzed survey responses from Mobile Beacon’s non-profit clients. Mobile Beacon enables non-profit organizations—including schools—to purchase LTE-enabled mobile hotspot devices for $70 and offers uncapped, unthrottled data plans for $10/month.

While schools reported that the two main drivers for acquiring Mobile Beacon’s mobile broadband services are the desire for mobile connectivity (41 percent) and to save money on internet access (28 percent), they reported that the main benefits of using the services were 1) the ability to supplement/extend an existing network in their building (42 percent) and 2) having unlimited data access (22 percent). The report analyzed data consumption by schools over a five-month period (Sept 2016-Jan 2017) and found the average monthly data usage is 373 GB. During this time frame, data usage trended strongly upward, with consumption increasing so rapidly that the report predicts average school use could double in the course of a year. The sharp increase in data usage provides insight into school data usage trends when bandwidth is not capped or limited.

(Next page: More details on schools and mobile broadband)

About the Author:

Susan M. Bearden, Digital Equity Project director for CoSN, is the director of information technology at Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy in Melbourne, Fla. A strategic, growth-focused technology leader, she approaches IT from an educator mindset and facilitates best practices in education technology and innovative teaching and learning. With over 12 year of experience, she has championed the adoption of a number of innovative classroom technologies, including BYOD, Google Apps for Education, social media in the classroom, iPads, Chromebooks, and Makerspaces. In 2015, she received the ISTE “Making IT Happen” award from the Florida Society for Technology in Education. Connect with her on Twitter @s_bearden and @HTEATech or at www.susanmbearden.com.