Appalachian Council for Innovation boosts Starlink for student education

WISE, VA. — The Appalachian Council for Innovation is pleased to support the regional effort to connect students who are either unserved or underserved by terrestrial fiberoptic ‘last mile’ Internet providers with space-based broadband Internet into respective households, in cooperation with SpaceX Starlink.

The council is embarking on an effort to raise capital through public-private partnerships to expand deployment of space-based ‘last mile’ broadband, leveraged off the recent successful Wise County beta with Starlink to create an affordable education model in the American Central Appalachian Mountains.

“Expanding the service footprint to enhance the student distance education model in rural areas will close the nearly-three decade old digital divide between urban and rural America,” said Donald Purdie, president of the non-profit, pro-technology group.

The next incremental phase is to enable a five geographically-small cells of sixty (60) accounts each in the counties of Dickenson, Russell, Lee, Buchanan and expand Wise during the course of summer for a total of 300 homes reaching approximately 500 school children, or about 10% of the group’s goal in Virginia.

“Phased deployment provides the region’s community leaders the opportunity to gain technology confidence as the council raises monies and collaborates to build a sustainable low-cost broadband access service for use in education, telemedicine and remote telework models, Purdie told Congressman Morgan Griffith during a presentation about the first-in-nation Wise County Starlink education partnership.

SpaceX Starlink will be serving one of the lowest per capita income regions of the nation, Purdie said. The council’s goal is to build user group sustainable models as the entrepreneur Elon Musk inspired firm’s capability grows.

“The communities of southwestern Virginia, the elected leaders at the local, state and federal level are to be commended for joining together to work for a ‘last mile’ solution, whatever may it take, to boost public education, and related-services where none has been before,” Purdie told those assembled.

The Appalachian Council for Innovation’s goal in Virginia is to reach 3,000 public school student homes now unserved by terrestrial fiberoptic providers. The students are to be served with 300 MB/s space-based broadband as SpaceX Starlink adds to the satellite constellation, and as engineers expand service capability and the number of Earth ground stations.

“Enabling a space-based ‘last-mile’ solution for broadband Internet will open new opportunities for rural communities to expand telemedicine and remote telework opportunities working with various communities, state and federal agencies, and especially the private sector for low-cost access directly to the user,” Purdie said.

The council seeking a goal of expanding the education model among Central Appalachian states of Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina West Virginia and Tennessee where ‘middle mile’  terrestrial fiberoptic broadband providers cannot close a business case.

About: The Appalachian Council for Innovation is a non-profit group, evolved from the Southwest Virginia Technology Council, to promote technology solutions to business and community concerns. The group was first formed in 1999.

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