For this blogger, whose youngest of three leaves the nest for this school year, our school supply list now has stuff on it like towels, sheets and a hand-me-down microwave ready for late-night pizza, rather than white glue and markers. But for 25 years, August has held had that back-to-school excitement at our house even though it always came around too soon for us. Now it’s on to the next chapter.
Soon Texas’ annual Tax Free Weekend (August 5-7) will come as one well-established commercial smoke signal that the bell is about to ring, and the push to get ready for the new school year will be on. It’s been a while since this writer or my wife rolled through H-E-B with a list. Come to think of it, this writer’s school shopping “skills” were usually only required at 9:00pm the night before a project was due coupled by a desperate wish for a door-to-door poster board salesperson or a tube of glitter to show up magically on the front porch.
No, I haven’t seen a school supply list in a while but it might be a safe bet to say that adequate Internet bandwidth is still not on it. It ought to be. Admittedly, you don’t pick that up at Sam’s or CVS. But when the kids go home, their assignments demand Internet speeds that can power devices to stream educational videos, connect to teacher websites, edit documents, do a power point presentation and other critical activities. Has there ever been a more important item on the “must have” list for school?
In November and December of 2013, Connected Texas (www.connectedtx.org) conducted a research study. We note a few key findings that seem at this point to be a blinding glimpse of the obvious.
- Over one-half of parents of K-12 students whose schools provide computers say that they have helped their children’s grades.
- Six out of 10 parents who do not have broadband at home agree that having Internet service at home would make it easier for their child to do homework.
- 88% of parents with school age children say that their children use the Internet at school. (Editor’s note: It seems clear that the only conclusion to make here is that without the ability to go online from home or get enough access to the Internet for their homework, puts student at risk of falling behind peers who do.)
- Computers and access to the Internet can have a positive impact on children’s learning.
(Editor’s note: One feels almost a little silly putting in these stats without saying duh. It’s like saying it would be easier to cook with electricity than just good intentions. But there it is in a funded research piece.)
The Federal Communications Commission considers “high speed” internet to be nothing less than 25 Mbps (megabits per second) of download speed. In rural areas and smaller communities, that can be as tough to find as praiseworthy school cafeteria food. In six (soon to be eight) of the 13 communities that commZoom serves, we’ve got that answer and then some. Sometimes it’s hard to sort out Bits and Bytes, Mega’s and Giga’s. We get it. Most people have trouble distinguishing a megabit from a drill bit. But it is all about that “bit.” Just keep this in mind. It’s a matter of “throughput.” The more devices you connect to the Internet at your home, the more bandwidth you need going through that “hose.”
commZoom launched in late 2014, and is investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in each of the communities it serves to upgrade the Internet capacity to a level never seen in those towns. It’s our niche. We don’t have all the communities up and ready yet but we’re moving as fast as we can and will get there. If you’re school-aged folks are bopping through the Internet looking for images of Christopher Columbus and Abraham Lincoln for that report due tomorrow, and your high school aged folks are supposed to be, but doing Snapchat or streaming tunes, and you’re trying to cram in an episode of House of Cards on Netflix, you’ll need more Internet bandwidth than what you can get from the wireless outfits and the phone company to pull all this off. And staying up late on a school night to grab freed up bandwidth is no answer. Give us a shot. We’ve got Internet speeds up to 100 Mbps. That’s fast enough to make it seem like you’re cheating. But you’re not. Faster Internet speeds are the state of play. And you’d better believe this; one day the rocket fast speeds available today are going to seem slow. We laugh at the idea of “dial up” now don’t we? We’re positioned to grow along with the needs. Go back to school with Zoommpphh in your home’s Internet this school year. Call us today and let our zoomCrew (John, Joe, Jodie or Juan) prep you for the assignment. Call us toll free at 1-844-858-8500 and let our skilled zoomCrew team, who are sitting right here in San Antonio, not in the Philippines, walk you through the different options.
Good luck and have a great school year!