enFocusSouth Bend Connectivity Coalition Private LTE Network
South Bend Connectivity Coalition Private LTE Network
Access to reliable broadband internet has increasingly become an essential tool for students and non-students alike. In South Bend, however, U.S. Census Bureau data indicates that 15%-30% of households lack access to home internet, a huge barrier to academic success for students from those homes.
In response, enFocus brought together experts from the City of South Bend, the South Bend Community School Corporation, and the University of Notre Dame to form the South Bend Connectivity Coalition, tasking it with providing families of the hardest-to-reach students with a simple, secure, mobile solution. The coalition identified the creation of a private LTE network as the technology approach to pursue, using airwaves recently made available through the Citizens Broadband Radio Service to create the cellular carrier-type network.
enFocus submitted a grant proposal to the Foundation for the project, which would initially connect hundreds of students while providing access to coalition partners to pursue their goals in research, development, and effective city services. The Foundation granted their request, citing the immediate, measurable educational benefit, as well as the foundation the project would provide for future expansion of the network to other areas of the city.