The real problem with school internet

Federal funding only goes so far for internet and infrastructure; here’s how states and communities are helping

internet-school-fundingFor schools across the country, mobile device management and online testing concerns start at the basic level: “How do we get the internet and infrastructure needed?” As it turns out, even the eRate stops short, and schools just can’t find the funding they need. That’s why many districts are turning to their states and local districts for help.

“It’s very important to plan ahead, you can’t stress that enough,” said John Harrington, CEO of Funds for Learning, which provides consulting and support services for the needs of eRate program participants. “Knowing how much broadband you have can be done with multiple speed tests that are available online, but that’s the snapshot of where you are today; it doesn’t answer where you want to be—in terms of internet and infrastructure—in the future.”

Planning ahead can help districts determine how many devices they want to support, the number of students they plan to support over the next few years, and the activities they’d like to have involving online and mobile learning in the future, said Harrington.

“Sometimes if the need isn’t that great, or if a district is already secure in their infrastructure and internet, it’s as simple as a call to the phone company. But if new infrastructure is needed, well, that’s where the real problems begin,” he said.

(Next page: The real school internet problem)

Meris Stansbury

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