Networking & Wireless

6.5 Million Students Lack Adequate Access

Most districts meet minimum connectivity standards set by the FCC.

fiber broadband in education 

Almost all, 94 percent, school districts now meet the Federal Communications Commission's minimum connectivity goal of 100 kilobits per second per student, but 6.5 million students still lack the connectivity required to take advantage of digital learning, according to the latest State of the States report from EducationSuperHighway.

Altogether, 74,000 schools, 2.6 million teachers and 39.2 million students now have at least the minimum connectivity to access digital learning, while 1,587 rural schools still lack adequate infrastructure to meet the requirements.

"America made a historic promise to our students in 2013 to connect every school district to high-speed Internet," said Evan Marwell, CEO of EducationSuperHighway, in a prepared statement. "We've made great progress since then; however, our work is far from over. It is critical that federal and state leaders, schools and service providers continue the hard work necessary to close the connectivity gap."

Other key findings of the report include:

  • 46 governors have committed to 21st century school upgrades;
  • Governors have allocated nearly $200 million in matching funds to take advantage of E-rate modernization to help connect the schools that are hardest to reach;
  • Nine states — Arkansas, Hawaii, North Dakota, Kentucky, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming — have met the 100 Kbps/student goal for all students;
  • Only nine states — Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Oregon, Louisiana, Nevada, Mississippi, Florida and Maryland — meet the goal for fewer than 90 percent of their students; and
  • 2,049 schools still lack high-speed fiber connections and 77 percent of those are in rural communities;
  • More than $5 billion in E-rate funding was set aside to upgrade WiFi, and $2.4 billion is left with funding expiring in 2020.

For more information or to see how individual states stack up, visit stateofthestates.educationsuperhighway.org.

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at jbolkan@gmail.com.

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