Power. Access. Trust.

Industry Insights Blog

Hidalgo County Brings Free, Public WiFi to Students and Workers

Posted by Insight Public Sector on January 31, 2022

Case Study Header Image for Blog

Hidalgo County in south Texas was facing extreme pressure to complete a Wi- Fi project by Dec. 31, 2020 (the original deadline for CARES Act Funds spending). The county shortened the procurement cycle by avoiding a full RFP, and instead, they leveraged Insight Public Sector's existing OMNIA Partners contract, saving an estimated four weeks of time.

The Challenge: Narrowing the Digital Divide at a Critical Time  

Each city within Hidalgo County had claimed its portion of the federal aid to support its citizens; however, residents located outside of city limits had a different set of challenges. Unlike city dwellers, the county's rural population lacked internet access and is generally living on the less privileged side of the so-called digital divide. As the COVID-19 pandemic has swept through the country, various regions and demographics have been hit harder than others. The county had received critical funding as a part of federal government aid and needed to apply these funds strategically to navigate its most pressing challenges.  

As a result of the pandemic and social distancing guidelines, Hidalgo County needed to embrace both remote work and distance education. But without proper internet access at home, launching these initiatives proved to be a daunting challenge.

The Solution: A Multiphased Approach and Multilayered Network with Ongoing Expert Support

Hidalgo County requested Insight propose a solution for strategy, design and deployment of a free public internet access Wi-Fi network across several precincts. The Insight Cloud+ Data Center Transformation (CDCT) team, in collaboration with SmartWAVE, was selected to help the county with this large-scale and time-sensitive project. Insight provided a multilayered network design, planning and deployment of a reliable wireless network, electrical remediation services and tower construction, and ongoing network monitoring and maintenance for three years.


The Result: Broad, Free Internet Access to Support Education and Remote Work

In working with Insight and SmartWAVE, Hidalgo County was able to provide free public Wi-Fi internet access to more than 30,000 students and teleworkers. The network design has built-in safety and compliance features to ensure user and business data and privacy are protected.

Our three-layer network design leveraged as much existing infrastructure as possible - water tanks, light and telephone poles - to expedite services delivery and control costs. Insight's engineering services will help the county continue to deliver reliable, secure internet access to residents in need for years to come.


About Insight Public Sector

Insight Public Sector (Insight) simplifies IT procurement by providing the technologies, implementation skills and management expertise your organization needs. Their competitively solicited contract through OMNIA Partners ensures you receive Insight's best overall government pricing on our broad portfolio of products and IT service solutions. To view all OMNIA Partners cooperative contracts, click here.


Topics: Local & State Government, Information Technology