How to ensure home broadband access for every student

When the coronavirus pandemic forced students into remote learning this past spring, many telecommunications companies stepped up to offer free or deeply discounted home broadband access to families who couldn’t afford it. Now, those temporary offers have largely expired — and yet remote learning seems likely to continue in at least some capacity when school resumes this fall.

This raises key questions for K-12 leaders to resolve: How will students from low-income families connect to the internet to learn from home if they can’t attend school physically this fall? What role can school systems play in ensuring home broadband access for all students, given the budget crisis many districts will be facing next year?

Related content: What the pandemic has revealed about digital equity…Read More

Infographic: Why mobile technology is hurting some students

[Editor’s Note: Read “Infographic: The edtech challenges faced by immigrant students” here.]

Although most children in families earning below the median U.S. household income have internet access and devices that connect to it, they struggle with being “under-connected.”

Ninety-four percent of families surveyed by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, have some kind of internet access and most have at least one device connecting to the internet, but the quality or consistency of their internet access is lower than they would like it to be.…Read More

100 million ‘offline’ Americans to get cheap broadband, digital literacy skills

The campaign will offer consumers access to programs providing discounted high-speed internet service and low-cost computers.

Three in 10 Americans are offline, citing both cost and digital skill barriers—but thanks to Everyone On, a new nonprofit initiative, more than 100 million offline Americans, including homes with children, will have cheap broadband access and training in digital literacy skills.

According to a new national survey on the current state of home broadband adoption released by the national nonprofit Connected Nation, broadband adoption is on the rise—increasing from 65 percent in 2011 to 70 percent in 2012, but that still leaves almost 70 million Americans (30 percent) offline at home.

Out of that 30 percent, almost 8 million households with children do not subscribe to home broadband service, representing almost 15 million children living in those homes.…Read More

FCC aims to measure home broadband speeds

The Federal Communications Commission wants to find out whether broadband providers are delivering internet connections that are as fast as advertised, reports the Associated Press—and so the agency is seeking 10,000 volunteers to take part in a study of residential broadband speeds. Specialized equipment will be installed in homes across the country to measure internet connections. Those results then will be compared with advertised speeds. The agency hopes to get a cross section of volunteers who subscribe to broadband services provided by a range of phone and cable TV companies. The new project grows out of several proposals outlined in the FCC’s national broadband plan, released in March. “The big issue here is knowing what you are paying for,” said Joel Gurin, who heads the FCC’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau. According to data cited in the national broadband plan, average residential download speeds are typically only half as fast as the maximum speeds advertised by U.S. broadband providers. The FCC will summarize its findings on home broadband connections in a report later this year. The commission also is seeking input on ways to measure mobile broadband speeds. Broadband subscribers who want to participate in the FCC’s new study can register at

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