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COVID-19 has become a catalyst for education's digital transformation. ISPs make it possible.

The three T’s, telework, telehealth, and tele-education are fast being expanded upon nationwide. In the process, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and other communication bodies around the world have exposed hard realities about the digital divide. It’s time to discuss the coronavirus disruption and how technology can help. New solutions for education could bring much needed innovation, but who’s laying the foundation?

From the standpoint of educational institutions worldwide, COVID-19 has become a catalyst for digital transformation. The slow pace of change in academic institutions with centuries-old, lecture-based approaches to teaching is now starkly challenged with innovative solutions in a relatively short period of time. Students are accessing reading material via Google Classroom, getting used to synchronous face-to-face video instruction, and using online platforms such as Zoom or Blackboard as their virtual classrooms. As such, schools and universities have been and continue to check with their internet service providers (ISPs) in lock-step to ensure sufficient bandwidth is allotted for the millions of online and video-consuming students.

One option to mitigate the capacity problem would be to downgrade everyone to standard definition from HD. In contrast, the other option, as attested by Verizon’s CTO Kyle Malady, is to upgrade. Malady says “most of my engineers’ time is spent these days on adding capacity and figuring out what tools they’re going to bring to the table to meet that demand”. With the sense of urgency to upgrade networks during these unprecedented events, ISPs want to drive faster towards capacity upgrades, and wireless carriers want to drive even faster towards 5G deployments. As 5G becomes more prevalent across the world, we will see the education sector truly embrace the ‘learning anywhere, anytime’ concept of digital education in a range of formats since the tether of wireless service will eventually vanish.

In bridging this digital divide, there is a need for all academic institutions to have faster internet access, whether through traditional cable or wireline carriers - or via wireless cellular infrastructure so they can work and learn from home. The less affluent and digitally savvy individual families are, the further their students will be left behind and home workers will struggle. Some of the proposed actions from the FCC and other communication bodies around the world may be:

The brunt of the work falls back to ISPs, to the network operator who’s going to look for a range of fiber options that will increase bandwidth and speed for their customers, including the most critical (and expensive segment) - the access and edge of the provider's plant. With pressures stemming officially from the FCC and other communication bodies around the world ISPs are rushing to scope their infrastructure projects, secure necessary hardware and components, and execute upgrades at an unprecedented pace.

The good news is that AddOn has the experience and the full suite of certified optical network solutions to support ISPs in this endeavor. Here are the top project upgrades undertaken:

Whether supplying ISPs or schools with campus network upgrades, AddOn is ready to fulfill and offer expert advice.

Moreover, AddOn is Trade Agreements Act (TAA) compliant which means that our products originate from the United States. In addition, we meet in country standards such as ISO 9001 & 14001 in the UK where our products are also produced.

AddOn is fully able to supply the government for any General Service Administration (GSA) needs. Learn more about our TAA compliance.

AddOn’s solution experts across the globe can help no matter the project complexity. All of our come with a lifetime warranty. Contact us today.