South Carolina ETV to explore use of datacasting technology in education
South Carolina ETV (SCETV) today announced that it is partnering with the S.C. Department of Education (SCDE) and SpectraRep to explore leveraging datacasting technology to support students without access to broadband. With schools closed and distance learning becoming a necessary tool, providing educational resources to families that lack broadband connectivity is essential to preventing those students from falling behind.
According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), nearly half a million South Carolinians reside in areas that fall below that agency’s standard for broadband connectivity. And, with schools closed as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, those shortfalls are now limiting the ability of students to keep up with their peers.
To help address this issue and potentially increase access to educational resources in underserved communities across the state, SCETV and SCDE are exploring a technology called datacasting that has, until now, primarily been used in public safety applications. Datacasting will allow SCETV to transmit files, videos and other computer data to computers using an inexpensive tuner and TV antenna. This will provide students and educators who do not have broadband internet access with the same instructional content and educational resources that would normally require an Internet connection. Content sent through datacasting is encrypted and targeted to ensure broadcast transmission privacy and security.
SCETV has acquired equipment for initial testing and research; and, in cooperation with SCDE, the agency is working with SpectraRep to identify needs and technical specifications in order to outline objectives for the project and design an education-oriented interface. Founded in 1999, SpectraRep is a leading provider of datacasting solutions.
After internal testing, the next steps for the project will be to put prototypes in the hands of students and educators and begin soliciting feedback for a broader deployment.
For more information on SCETV, visit www.scetv.org.