Broadband tower locations still undecided

Published 1:13 pm Friday, March 18, 2016

Charlotte County Public Schools have been recently working to determine the location of towers to be used to provide broadband to the greatest number of households in the area.

School Superintendent Nancy Leonard said that work is being done to collect data to identify the population of students who would be considered economically disadvantaged and present the most need.

“Well, of course, in doing that, we have challenges with making sure that at all costs we keep all information confidential,” said Leonard. “We have created some ways of being able to locate where the area of need is without disclosing student information.”

The project is a joint venture between the school division, Mid-Atlantic Broadband and Microsoft.

“It is an initiative that is trying to bring greater broadband service to Charlotte County,” Leonard said.

She said the broadband initiative is an experimental project that will utilize white space.

A $300,000 grant has been awarded to the localities of Charlotte, Halifax and Campbell Counties to support the project.

In November, Alfredo Echeverria, director of business development for MBC, said that eight sites would eventually be built in the county. The single-carrier towers provide educational content to students.

Within the next two weeks, Leonard said she would be attending meetings to determine how the broadband would be implemented and the continued role of the school system in the project.

“That is going to require our scrutiny and sitting around the table figuring out exactly how that impacts our filter,” she said. Work will be done to determine what educational programs need to be available.

Leonard said as the project moves forward, more information would become available regarding the exact location of the towers.