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How Shreveport Built a Low-Cost WiFi Network Using Blockchain Technology

When industry advocates say that blockchain technology has nearly limitless applications, it may not be so easy for some people to imagine just how beneficial this technology can be. However, numerous case studies are providing concrete proof of just how versatile blockchain technology can be. One such case study is provided by Shreveport, Louisiana, which built a low-cost Wi-Fi network using blockchain tech.

In a bid to transform Shreveport into a smart city, Keith Hanson was hired as the city’s IT chief.  The mayor had two requests for the new hire: make Shreveport a smarter city and address the current digital divide.

Hanson and his team did their homework and were shocked to discover that approximately 40% of the city had no internet access, and these households were largely in disadvantaged poor neighborhoods inhabited by minorities. He decided that Shreveport had to take matters into its own hands after a series of meetings with telecommunication companies made it clear that these entities had no interest in upgrading the city to 5G since they didn’t expect to earn as much as the investment in such infrastructure required.

With the help of Spread Networks, an entity focused on supporting cities to leverage open-standard technologies while setting up digital infrastructure, Hanson partnered with Pollen Mobile in order to use directional antennas to blast the Wi-Fi signal more effectively to city residents instead of relying on other services that would have seen a bulk of that connectivity ending up in the lake.

Using open-source blockchain technology, the city of Shreveport partnered with its public library network to set up Wi-Fi equipment at strategic locations to serve the wider community. Using this approach, the city spent about half a million dollars to reach more than half a million households that previously didn’t have access to high-speed internet. Had the city opted to use traditional internet services providers, the cost would have been in excess of $5 million.

Additionally, the use of open-source blockchain technology allowed the city to customize its system so that city officials can scale it as the need arises and at a reasonable cost. Had the city used proprietary technology from traditional telcos, it would have had little control over the internet system and would require a hefty investment each time the network needed to be modified in order to serve more residents.

With this blockchain-based system, Shreveport can have a video camera system to check crime, kids can easily access the internet to do their school work, and residents can now use the high-speed internet to improve their lives in various ways, such as working from home when the need arises. These success stories show that when companies such as Stronghold Digital Mining Inc. (NASDAQ: SDIG) do their work well, there is no limit to how far blockchain technology can be put to use around the world.

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