3 barriers, 3 fixes for school broadband

A new report urges state leaders to help all school districts access high-speed school broadband

school-broadbandNationwide, 23 percent of school districts still do not meet the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) minimum school broadband access goal of 100 kbps per student, according to a state-by-state broadband connectivity report from the nonprofit EducationSuperHighway.

The top three barriers to meeting the FCC’s minimum school broadband goal, according to the report, include:

  • Access to fiber: School districts without fiber are 15 percent less likely to meet connectivity goals.
  • Broadband affordability: Districts that do meet the 100 kpbs per student minimum pay an average cost of $5.07 per Mbps–those that do not meet the goal pay more than double, at $12.33 per Mbps.
  • School district budgets: The average internet access budget in districts that meet the FCC’s connectivity goal is $4.93 per student–more than 2.4 times the $2.08 per student budget for districts that do not meet the school broadband connectivity goals.

In all, 20 million more students have been connected to high-speed broadband over the past 2 years, according to the report. In 2013, just 30 percent of school districts met the Federal Communication Commission’s minimum school broadband access goal. In 2015, that jumped to 77 percent.

Laura Ascione

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