SpaceX wants to put Starlink Internet on school buses so kids can do homework

what just happened SpaceX is working with select school districts to pilot a program to deploy Wi-Fi on buses and turn “drive time into connected time.” In a recent memo to the Federal Communications Commission, SpaceX argued that no service is better placed to fill the “homework gap” than Starlink. SpaceX is targeting school districts in rural areas where trips take more than an hour each way and mostly lack access to other mobile broadband services.

SpaceX further noted that the overwhelming majority of participating students will not have access to high-speed broadband at home. According to figures quoted, an estimated 17 million students in the US do not have access to the Internet at home.

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced earlier this year a proposal that would allow federal funds to be used to equip school buses with Wi-Fi.

These “rolling study halls” sound like a great idea on paper, but I’m not convinced they’ll work in the real world. Honestly, no one wants to do their homework on the bus. It’s loud and busy. Children play and visit their friends. Good luck being productive in this environment.

Maybe I’m the one who lost touch, but is all homework internet based these days? What happened to book assignments and paper worksheets? And what about the potential for motion sickness? If I had my head glued to a screen while being carted around for more than an hour, I would no doubt get nauseous when I got home or to school. If anything, I imagine kids would use the onboard WiFi to watch videos or play games.

Google tested a similar program called Rolling Study Halls in 2018. In addition to mobile Wi-Fi, this program provided students with an onboard teacher to help them with their homework. If it was such a great idea, Google would probably have expanded the program and we would have heard a lot more about it by now.

Credits: David McElwee, Joshua Hoehne SpaceX wants to put Starlink Internet on school buses so kids can do homework

Chris Barrese

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