What’s Up with Wi-fi?

     When an Ursuline student sits down in a class, the first thing that is asked of them is to get out their laptops. This laptop holds every vital part of their education. The teacher then may proceed to present notes from his or her computer on the board. The first five minutes of every class will most likely proceed accordingly. Then at night, the student will have to do their math homework on one note, turn in an Essay via email or submit an analysis of a history document on teams. The procedure that was listed above could not be done without one thing, and that is wi-fi.

     Wi-fi is a vital part of our day at school and out of school for every Ursuline Student. We rely on wi-fi for nearly every part of our day. But many people do not have the same luxury. Microsoft reports that almost 163 million Americans do not have access to high-speed internet.

    Many of those Americans are kids that can not do their homework because they do not have access to wi-fi. CBS covered a story on California’s Coachella Valley. This city worked to solve the lack of wi-fi by putting routers on busses and parking them where there is no activity after school hours. Due to the increase in kids’ ability to do their homework and access the web the graduation rate went up 8% that year. Kids look to utilize wi-fi anywhere that they can to be able to do their online homework. NJTV has reported, “kids sitting outside the McDonalds buying french-fries because it’s the cheapest thing on the menu and then connecting to the wi-fi and doing their homework in the parking lot.”

    The reason that the 163 million people don’t have access to the internet is because of the dominance of the top two fixed broadcast providers. Comcast and Charter divided up America, each company taking different areas. Therefore there is no cross over between the two. Due to the lack of cross over, the two companies don’t face any competition, both nearing monopoly territories. The companies have no motivation to supply their customers with adequate service because they won’t make as much money if their equipment is working at its best. Instead, they can provide inadequate service, and because they are not competing for customers, they face no backlash.

   Small cities are taking this problem head-on and are not dealing with the two companies anymore. This is known as Municipal Broadband, and Harvard reports that when cities take matters into their own hands, they get faster speeds, lower-priced, and better customer service. Chattanooga, Tennessee, is just one example of Municipal Broadband being used in small cities. Chattanooga set up an internet service 200 times faster than Comcast, for cheaper and for much better customer service. Chattanooga a prime example of Municipal Broadband allowing small towns to take internet into their own hands.

    The internet crises is a significant issue in the world today and due to this rising candidates for 2020 have been asked on their own plans to fix the crises along the trail. Berny Sanders answers this question with a plan to “require that all internet service providers offer a Basic Internet Plan that provides quality broadband speeds at an affordable price”.

    Senator Elizabeth Warren plans to attack the issue in a different way that the verge reports as an “85 billion dollar grant program for nonprofits and local government to build fiber networks, as well as protections for cities that want to run their broadband services.”

    It is no doubt that a change in the internet world needs to be made, but the question is whether the government and these rising candidates will make the changes. These changes would lead to more kids like us having access to wi-fi in order to complete homework and do schoolwork. And money hungry companies like Comcast and Charter would be forced to make changes for the betterment of customers in need of sufficient wi-fi.

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