Fort Worth, Texas school district builds sustainable CBRS network

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Federal funds and municipal bond money have flowed to school districts during the past two years to help connect students to the internet during the global pandemic. Some of this funding has helped create private LTE networks using CBRS spectrum under General Authorized Access. One of these networks serves Texas’ Fort Worth Independent School District (FWISD). The network was designed to favor capital investment rather than ongoing operating expenses, since a windfall of funding was available from a bond and from the government’s Emergency Connectivity Fund. The district will own all the network infrastructure, including the monopole towers BearCom is building on school properties, and the district will host the network core in its data center. Cradlepoint, which is owned by Ericsson, supplies the home Wi-Fi routers that use SIM cards to connect to the CBRS network. Ash said one router is usually sufficient for each home. The district paid for the Cradlepoint equipment with federal dollars secured through the Emergency Connectivity Fund. FWISD supplies each student with a laptop or tablet and hands out the Cradlepoint devices to families along with the access devices, which can only be used to access the school’s fire-walled network.

Fort Worth school district builds sustainable CBRS network