The Berlin Senate wants to remedy the shortcomings at schools, which are the result of a lack of fiber-optic connections, with LTE routers. To this end, 2.2 million euros will be made available to procure 10,000 routers for 600 schools.
Mobile routers as an interim solution
The LTE routers for the 600 schools will then be sufficient for 16 classrooms in each of the schools. The routers will be supplied to the Berlin schools by Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom. Both companies will supply 5,000 routers each with unlimited data usage. According to the Senate administration, the routers are intended to be a kind of interim solution for now and just to improve the current hybrid classes.
The chairman of the state parents’ committee wants to improve hybrid instruction so that “students who stay at home don’t have to be provided with assignment sheets first, but can actually participate in the classroom.” Education Senator Sandra Scheeres said about the provision of LTE routers, “We provide our schools with the mobile LTE routers a speedy and unbureaucratic support.” Long-term goal is the expansion of a high-performance broadband fiber-optic connection of all school sites, the expansion will, however, still take time and was unfortunately also not tackled for years. With the LTE routers, there is at least an interim solution that can be implemented quickly until the expansion of the fiber-optic connection can begin.
Routers are not enough
However, the LTE routers ordered will not be enough to ensure that all rooms in Berlin’s schools have an Internet connection. Karin Stolle, head of the Schule an der Jungfernheide announced that they would need 60 routers to ensure that all rooms are supplied.
The purchase of the LTE routers for Berlin’s schools is urgently needed because there is precisely no fiber-optic connection yet. The responsible senate administration announced to the Berlin education magazine of the union education and science (GEW) that at the moment not one of the more than 600 general education schools in the city is connected to the fiber optic network.
It is not yet known exactly how much the LTE routers will cost. According to reports from Inforadio, the purchase price of a router is around 100 euros and the monthly costs amount to ten euros. This puts the total acquisition cost at around one million euros and the ongoing annual costs at 1.2 million euros.