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Winegard and SpectraRep Give Students Without Broadband Easier Access to Remote Learning

May 25th 2021

This partnership combines SpectraRep's EduCast™ datacasting technology and Winegard's amplified antennas.



BURLINGTON, Iowa (May 25, 2021) /PRNewswire/ — Over the last year, Winegard and SpectraRep have been working together to make remote learning easier during the COVID-19 crisis—especially for those families without high-speed broadband access. All through the power of datacasting technology.

A solution to remote-learning equity… that few people even knew existed.
"Datacasting turns a portion of the public television spectrum into a secure wireless data network," says SpectraRep President and CTO Mark O'Brien.

"It's a reliable and cost-effective solution that leverages powerful TV signals to deliver computer data. First responders, from local police and fire services to the Department of Homeland Security, have been using datacasting for two decades. Now underserved kids can use it too.

"SpectraRep has been working in the datacasting sphere for more than twenty years. But it's probably fair to say this technology is still unknown to the general public. Datacasting is a natural fit for the unique and critical need to deliver teacher-created content to students who don't have reliable broadband access. That's what makes EduCast™ so exciting."

A wireless data network delivered through a TV antenna.
EduCast™ lets any teacher use their local public television station to broadcast instructional content or educational resources directly from their computer to a student's Chromebook or tablet.

It eliminates the need for a home router or a monthly data plan. Once students are set up with a SpectraRep receiver, a quality antenna, and a PC, laptop, or tablet, they can access school files through the cloud-based EduCast™ platform.

"When our public television station partners came to us with the idea to expand datacasting to support remote learning,” says Mark O'Brien, "we were in a great position to provide the necessary cloud technology, content management, and receivers. All that remained was gaining a reliable supply of high-quality antennas. Which is why we turned to Winegard."

Bringing remote learning beyond the school bus hotspot and straight into the home.
"From mid-2020 onward, we deployed high-performance routers on school buses here in our hometown of Burlington and across the nation," says Grant Whipple, Winegard President and COO.

"But that could only ever be one part of the solution to broadband equity, especially for rural America. Students deserve to have at-home access to reliable distance-learning resources whenever they need them. Not just any time there's a school bus nearby.

"When SpectraRep came to us with the idea of using our FlatWave Amped indoor TV antennas to deliver network connectivity across the country, we jumped at the opportunity. It's inspiring to see how EduCast™ is leveling the educational playing field."

The start of something even bigger.
"The EduCast™ revolution has touched thousands of students across the nation," says Mark O'Brien. "We continue to deploy the technology to even more kids in need, and I truly believe it's the start of something big.

"This whole initiative has brought a fundamental change to the field of datacasting. More people know what it is, and with public television’s support and the infrastructure now in place, the potential is limitless. Even as the country emerges from the pandemic, there is a continuing need to help students without internet access. Schools use their online platforms, such as Google Drive, Canvas, and Schoology, to communicate with students and post assignments and grades.

"Datacasting enables students without broadband to access these same resources. EduCast™ can significantly reduce the learning and homework gap that many educators have been worried about for a long time. I can’t wait to come back in a few years and report on the kinds of experiences we’ll be helping teachers deliver."

To learn more about datacasting and EduCast™, head over to SpectraRep’s dedicated page.

About Winegard Company
Winegard’s mission is to create the world’s most innovative, reliable, and easy-to-operate Smart Wireless Solutions. Our products for the home, RV, marine, and industrial markets are designed to foster harmony by erasing the lines between technology and human experience. Customers should have the right tools to live, work, and play wherever and however they want. Learn more at Winegard.com.

About SpectraRep
SpectraRep is the leading provider of datacasting solutions, applications, and systems for education, public safety, law enforcement, homeland security, and mass media sectors. SpectraRep partners with public television stations throughout the US and uses their datacasting solution to provide a robust wireless one-to-many data delivery network supporting multiple simultaneous use-cases. For more information, visit SpectraRep.com.