By the Numbers: Wireless Access in Public Schools
01.10.2007—The National Center for Education Statistics' recently released study on Internet access showed dramatic growth in wireless Internet access in public schools in 2005. All told, 45 percent of public schools in 2005 used some form of wireless Internet access, a growth of more than 40 percent over the previous survey year, 2003, in which only 32 percent of public schools had wireless access (Fig. 1).
Figure 2, below, shows the breakdown by instructional level of the schools participating in the survey. In 2005, 45 percent of elementary schools had some sort of wireless Internet access, up from 29 percent in 2003. Secondary schools came in ahead of elementary schools at 48 percent in 2005, but the increase from 2003 was slighter, up just six points from 42 percent.
In terms of locale, schools within cities had the highest wireless penetration, at 50 percent in 2005. Schools in locales designated as "urban fringe" came in at 48 percent. Thirty-nine percent of schools in rural areas had wireless access. All of these numbers were up dramatically from 2003, with the widest margin going to city schools, up 18 points from a 32 percent wireless penetration figure in 2003.
The study also surveyed respondents on the use of their schools' types of wireless connections used to access the Internet. Ninety-seven percent responded that they use a broadband connection, up from 92 percent in 2003.
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