The Online Learning Initiative has successfully provided over 100,000 mobile hotspots and wired internet service to schools across the state for distribution to qualifying households.
National Online Learning Day showcases how students of all ages can use digital resources to learn online. This year, National Online Learning Day was held on September 15, 2020 and helped to further show the need for broadband access throughout the state. This day also marked a milestone in the South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff’s (ORS) program to provide internet access to students -- by surpassing 100,000 mobile hotspots and providing wired internet service to schools for distribution to qualifying households.
The ORS is helping to provide internet access to households by providing mobile hotspots and wired internet service through the Online Learning Initiative, funded by the CARES Act. Act 142 of the General Assembly allocated $50 million in CARES Act funding to the ORS to address gaps in broadband infrastructure and availability made clear by the pandemic of COVID-19 across South Carolina. This includes the South Carolina Broadband infrastructure Program, mapping and planning efforts, and the Online Learning Initiative.
The mobile hotspot and wired internet service program, called the Online Learning Initiative, launched in July 2020. As of Sept. 15, the ORS has provided 101,758 mobile hotspots or wired internet service lines to schools for distribution to qualifying households. The ORS continues to fill orders and help troubleshoot service issues with schools and households.
More information on the Online Learning Initiative can be found at ORS.SC.GOV/broadband.