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  • Symbol opinion vote.svg Comment: the subject (voqal) was not explained in enough detail by any secondary source Daniel kenneth (talk) 18:26, 1 June 2016 (UTC)
  • Symbol opinion vote.svg Comment: Still needs any further available in-depth third-party sources overall. SwisterTwister talk 05:31, 16 February 2016 (UTC)

Voqal is the collaboration of five nonprofit organizations with a mission advance social equity by supporting nonprofit organizations and individuals that use technology and media to build an educated, empowered and engaged public. It was founded in 1983 by John Schwartz.


In 1983, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) authorized Instructional Television Fixed Service (ITFS) licensees to lease excess capacity for commercial purposes.[1]. This decision paved the way for educational institutions and nonprofits, such as Voqal, to provide educational services to schools and students.


In 1983, the five nonprofit organizations that comprise Voqal were established: Chicago Instructional Technology Foundation, Inc.; Denver Area Educational Telecommunications Consortium, Inc.; Instructional Telecommunications Foundation, Inc.; Portland Regional Educational Telecommunications Corporation and Twin Cities Schools' Telecommunications Group. Until they were rebranded under the Voqal name in 2013, the organizations did business under these names.


From 1983-84, the five Voqal organizations applied to the FCC for a total of 25 ITFS licenses, and were ultimately granted licenses for stations in 11 markets.

ITFS Spectrum Development Alliance[edit]

In 1999, the Voqal organizations joined with two other large holders of ITFS spectrum, North American Catholic Educational Programming Foundation (NACEPF) and Hispanic Information and Telecommunications Network (HITN), to form the ITFS Spectrum Development Alliance, a non-profit organization. The alliance's mission: (1) find a new path for ITFS to provide educational service, and (2) improve the utility of spectrum in the two-way digital era.


In 2001, the Voqal organizations, together with the other two members of the ITFS Spectrum Development Alliance, entered into a spectrum agreement with Clearwire, a company then controlled by the venture capital arm of Goldman Sachs. This venture was intended to deliver high-speed data to both educational and commercial users over ITFS spectrum. In 2006, Voqal and North American Catholic Educational Programming Foundation signed a new spectrum contract with Clearwire, which had been sold to a firm run by telecom billionaire Craig McCaw.[2]

Voqal Brand[edit]

In 2013, the five Voqal organizations launched the Voqal brand, bringing them together under one brand exactly 30 years after the organizations were created.


Voqal works through its distinct individual initiatives: Mobile Citizen, Voqal Education, Independent Spectrum, Independent Public Media and the Voqal Fund.

Mobile Citizen[edit]

Launched in 2009, Mobile Citizen aims to help bridge the digital divide by reducing the costs associated with Internet access for nonprofits and schools. Mobile Citizen was created via a 30-year partnership with CLEAR — now a part of Sprint — that allows it to offer mobile Internet service exclusively to education, social welfare and nonprofit organizations.


In 2015, Mobile Citizen filed a lawsuit against Sprint[3]. The lawsuit charged Sprint, which acquired Clearwire in 2013[4], with failure to uphold an agreement made with Clearwire to provide unlimited broadband service in exchange for access to spectrum owned by Mobile Citizen, which, in turn, provided the broadband service to schools, libraries, nonprofits and low-income individuals at a discounted rate.[5]. In November 2015, a Massachusetts judge granted an emergency injunction that stopped Sprint from shutting down its WiMAX network as it had planned to do on Nov. 6, preventing a loss of service to 300,000 Mobile Citizen customers[6]. The lawsuit is still pending in 2016.

Voqal Education[edit]

Education is rooted in the Voqal organizations' efforts since 1983 to fulfill the mission of the EBS. Voqal Education aims to educate and empower the public with initiatives like the Voqal Education Venture Fund, which connects early stage investors and donors with technology startups, with a goal of reducing opportunity gaps in education. Voqal Education is also an underwriter of the "Government and Politics" video series offered by Crash Course (YouTube), an educational YouTube channel. [7].

Voqal Fund[edit]

Through its grant-making and fellowship initiatives, the Voqal Fund supports nonprofit organizations [8] and individuals using media and technology to empower those who are politically, economically or socially disenfranchised[9]

Independent Spectrum[edit]

Voqal created Independent Spectrum in 2004 to improve the educational and commercial uses of EBS licencees' spectrum.

Independent Public Media[edit]

In 2011, Voqal launched Independent Public Media to explore new funding models for struggling public television stations.


Voqal is headquartered in Longmont, Colorado.