Voqal realizes that advancing social equity is an immense undertaking. That is why we take multiple approaches to realize our goal of a more socially equitable world for all. One of those approaches, is Voqal project, Mobile Citizen. It provides low-cost mobile internet with unlimited data plans exclusively to nonprofit organizations, educational entities, and social welfare agencies because it believes access to the internet is a key component of advancing true social equity. Mobile Citizen recently released a case study showing how its devices and internet access helped Berkeley County School District ensure everyone has equitable access to the internet. An excerpt from the case study is below.
Keeping Teachers and Kids Connected
The Berkeley County School District already had a 1:1 technology program in place when the state of West Virginia temporarily closed the doors to in-person learning in 2020. Students were outfitted with school-provided Chromebooks or Apple iPads, so Kenney and his team just had to make sure all those kids (and their teachers) could get connected remotely. While in the building, students can use their Chromebooks and iPads to log on to the school’s secure Internet, but not all the district’s 19,500 students have Internet access at home.
The entire county is serviced by only one cable Internet provider, and there are plenty of pockets and corners of West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle region where cable service doesn’t reach. So even though Comcast Internet Essentials is available at no charge to students who qualify for the Free and Reduced Lunch Program, not everyone can take advantage of it.
Low-Cost Mobile Internet for Schools
The Berkeley County School District IT team purchased hotspot devices and Internet services from two providers to make sure they had strong mobile Internet coverage throughout the county. Mobile Citizen, whose Internet service is delivered on the Sprint network, was one of them. “Anywhere we can send Mobile Citizen devices out to families in the district, we’re happy to,” explained Kenney. “The devices are simple to use and the pricing is really good, especially the service costs.”
Small Devices, Large Impact
Kenney and his team appreciate the fact that the Mobile Citizen devices are simple to manage, “They’re extremely easy to set up and there’s not much management that needs to be done. We can send them out with the families who need them,” he said, “and they just work.”
Mobile Citizen hotspots provide a secure connection, with built-in content filtering and consistent high-speed service. Small enough to fit in a pocket, these devices have made a big impact in the lives of students across the school district. For kids who typically wouldn’t have Internet service in their homes, the devices mean they can keep up with their coursework rather than fall behind their peers.