The first, and most basic, technological need for the Mobile Media Center must be high speed internet access. It is a necessity for any other technology projects and essential for any student’s education. Internet access will allow the Library Media Specialists to teach students good research skills, helping with school assignments and future careers. Mobile computing vehicles a have been successfully implemented in projects across the world, from New York City to Indonesia. Using a variety of methods for internet access, these projects connect through a wireless 4G network in New York and a satellite connection in Indonesia. An alternate method is creating a wireless bridge to a location over microwave; this would have no operating costs, but higher set up costs and “physics-related” constraints of needing line of sight between the two connection points. Information about connectivity options was provided by Larissa Zhurakovskaya from the NYC Department of IT and Telecommunications and former NYC Wireless Network (NYCWiN) Project Manager.
In 2012, the New York City Housing Authority begin rolling out their Digital Vans. Funded by the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program grant the vans serve as Wifi hotspots and provide free internet access through on board laptops and printing services to residents of NYC’s housing projects. This project provided internet access through Verizon’s 4G network and serves as proof that the concept of a MMC is feasible technologically.
A mobile broadband program in Indonesia, sponsored by a Global Broadband Innovations Program grant, is being tested by using vans connected to broadband internet through a satellite connection. This will give rural areas broadband access and access to laptops, since only 10% of Indonesians only have internet access and only 4% have access to broadband. This is an example of the possibility of high speed internet connectivity in a variety of geographic locations to serve a much needed user demographic.
Image Credit: NYCHA, ssg-advisors.com