In the News

Shreveport Taps Pollen Address Digital Divide

December 12, 2022

Decentralized wireless provides municipalities the tools they need to address the digital divide by bringing Wi-Fi connectivity to underserved communities.

The city of Shreveport, La., is utilizing the open source Pollen mobile network “to create a private 5G network for public Wi-Fi,” writes Michael Brady in a Smart Cities Dive story. The city teamed with Pollen partner Spread Networks on the connectivity project as part of a larger Universal Digital Access initiative.

In the article, Keith Hanson, Shreveport’s chief technology officer and smart cities director, says implementation was quick “because the city built its network using open standards — a feat that would not have been possible with a traditional vendor using proprietary technology.”

The Smart Cities Dive piece explains the Shreveport IT department and Spread Networks, working with the city’s public library system, installed Pollen’s equipment “to operate the Wi-Fi network at libraries in five communities, with each installation reaching up to 1,000 homes.”

The story notes “residents with a library card who live in the coverage area can access the network by picking up and installing a hot spot kit from their local library.”

Hanson explains taking this “approach was far less costly than Shreveport’s other options.” By leveraging Pollen, the city is “spending about $500,000 in American Rescue Plan funds on its public Wi-Fi network. If it had partnered with a traditional internet service provider, Shreveport would have spent at least $5 million to reach the same number of homes, he said.”

Decentralized wireless is a game-changing technology for municipalities looking to deliver reliable, affordable Wi-Fi connectivity to their communities.

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