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Connecting Schools and Students Via Smart Policy

Around the world, over 57 million children of primary school age do not have access to quality education and over 250 million children cannot read or write by the time they reach grade four. In addition, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) of the United Nations estimates that over 4 billion people have yet to connect to the Internet and the positive economic and social benefits that it enables. With dedicated effort, national policy programs can tackle these twin social challenges simultaneously.

Highlighting a path forward, today Cisco is launching a new report, School Connectivity for the 21st Century, which explores the various national initiatives of five countries that have achieved near universal school Internet connectivity. The report assesses the different government policies and programs that have been successful in extending Internet connectivity to primary and secondary schools in Ireland, New Zealand, Portugal, Uruguay, and the United States. Collectively, the case studies demonstrate that broadband Internet connectivity, as a complement to educational programs, improves outcomes and equips students with the skills necessary to live, work, and thrive in our increasingly digital world.

Most countries around the world have some sort of school connectivity program. Unfortunately, though, connection speeds are often slow and connectivity rarely extends past the front office and into classrooms. While some countries may be connecting schools, they may not be connecting teachers and students to the global learning community.

Effective implementation of public policy not only connects more students to the Internet, but also facilitates real improvements to educational outcomes. The report finds that:

  • Broadband technology is an essential component in the iterative process of enhancing student achievement;
  • Dedicated national school connectivity programs can successfully extend Internet access to the majority of a country’s schools within only four or five years;
  • A range of funding mechanisms can be utilized to support school connectivity, from universal service funds to public-private partnership models; and
  • The amount of connectivity within a school (i.e., the local area networks, LAN) is just as important as the amount of connectivity provided to the school.

Given these findings, we recommend that policy leaders focus on broadband Internet and ICT adoption within schools to accelerate the positive impact of technology on education. The report highlights ‘good practices’ in comprehensive national school connectivity programs. These include: a high level vision; a detailed plan with targets; secure and recurring funding; a comprehensive focus on technology requirements; an emphasis on the development and integration of relevant educational content tailored to the learning environment; concurrent training for educators; and regular monitoring and evaluation of the program.


Several technological aspects of school connectivity programs work in concert to ensure that a
robust system is available for students and educators, namely: bandwidth to the school, within-school connectivity, district-wide access, and complementary hardware and software. The experience of the programs reviewed here demonstrates that, over time, per-student bandwidth needs are regularly updated and
that local area networks (LANs), which provide connectivity within schools, are essential not only to extend connectivity throughout the campus, but also to achieve real outcomes by supporting collaboration and access to resources for every student and educator.

As Horace Mann, a pioneer in education reform in the 19th century, once said, “education, beyond all other devices of human origin, is a great equalizer of the conditions of men – the balance wheel of the social machinery.” Today, nearly two centuries later, let us apply the lessons of history to lingering global challenges by extending educational opportunities – as well as Internet access – to all.

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Cisco at the 2015 SCTE Cable-Tec Expo

It’s Expo Eve down here in New Orleans, where the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center will soon fill with the technology people of the cable and broadband industry. Us included!

Children in a museum

We’ve been planning for months for this year’s SCTE Cable-Tec Expo, and are appreciably stocked (I hope!) with all of the elements that multichannel video providers (MVPDs) need to satiate their capacity needs — and contribute to the industry’s overall industrial momentum.

If you’re not going, or not familiar with the cable/broadband industry’s biggest and most hard-core tech event — the short hand is that it’s all about Read More »

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Private LTE : The Service Provider Opportunity

Ian RossGuest Blog by Ian Ross, Global Solution GTM Manager

In this second of a series, Ian Ross from our Mobility Solutions and Architectures team explores the Service Provider opportunity around Private LTE networks.

In my last blog I outlined the growing level of interest in private LTE networks; triggered when an enterprise has specific design, operational or performance requirements that can’t be met by public services.

On the surface this may look like a marginalisation risk for service providers, and within the context of legacy offers this would be right. However, while we see a growing interest from enterprises in some verticals in having their own LTE wireless infrastructure, Service Providers are far from precluded from a role in enabling these and in some markets are instrumental.

Women Mobility workplace

New markets require new offers

While virtualisation is lowering barriers to adoption, the drivers for Private LTE are Read More »

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Retailers Get Broadband Boost with Cisco Mobility Express Solution

Access to reliable and secure Wi-Fi is no longer a luxury in the retail world; it’s a necessity. Whether you’re looking to add a network or simply upgrade an older one, Cisco’s Mobility Express Solution makes it easy to provide customers with Wi-Fi, add security cameras and even introduce wireless POS terminals to expedite checkouts. And when you add Cisco Connected Mobile Experiences to your deployment, you can capture presence analytics and engage with your customer through the wi-fi network.

Overloaded networks stop shopping, security and inventory checks in their tracks.

ME re1

Read More »

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Two are Better than One – cBR-8 and Connected Life Won CSI Awards

christelle-gental-e1410553620989Guest blog By Christelle Gental, SP Video Marketing Solutions Manager

So here we are, back in Amsterdam for IBC 2015. The first busy day was concluded with the prestigious CSI awards, a ceremony which was launched by the Cable and Satellite International team back in 2003. The idea behind it is to recognise and reward industry top technologies in cable, satellite, IPTV, telco , OTT and mobile TV. The program has now grown to 19 categories and this year, Cisco was proud to be short listed for 4 of these: Read More »

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