COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - Gov. Henry McMaster said South Carolina will invest $1.3 million to expand SCETV’s abilities to broadcast data and information over television signals.
McMaster made the announcement Wednesday morning at SCETV headquarters in Columbia.
“While data casting has traditionally been used to support public safety, the opportunity to deliver lessons assignments and educational content to students with limited or no internet access, and about 20% of our state does not have good internet access,” McMaster said.
South Carolina Education Superintendent Molly Spearman said datacasting will allow SCETV to transmit files, video and other computer data to computers through the broadcast signal, an inexpensive tuner and a live TV antenna. It will provide students and educators who do not have broadband internet access with the same instructional content and educational resources that would normally require an internet connection.
She said the state’s Department of Education will supply the student portion of equipment they need in their homes.
“It’s a step in the right direction, [it] doesn’t solve all of our problems,” she said. “If there’s anything good that’s come out of this pandemic is that everyone in the state is working together to improve broadband capability for all citizens of South Carolina and we are so happy at the Department of Education to be a part of this.”
McMaster said SCETV to expand datacasting to approximately 5,000 students across 34 school districts significantly impacted by the pandemic.
“This is part of a broad plan,” McMaster said. “This is not something thought up overnight. We like to think things out and pay and use the taxpayer money strategically and directly to produce the desired result.”
McMaster said children lost “valuable learning progress” because of the closure of schools amid the pandemic.
“They’ve been isolated from the teachers and friends and daily routines. And we know that this isolation certainty has impacted the mental health of our children as it has others and dislocated working families, and we’re attempting to do all we can to correct that and make us stronger. This investment today will help ensure that our students who live without access to broadband will be able to keep up and access key educational content and lesson plans.”