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For each of the three main pieces of a typical district network, the FCC has adopted connectivity standards, which are consistent with President Obama’s ConnectED goals as well as with the standards set out by the State Education Technology Directors Association. Scroll over network diagram for connectivity goals.

Typical school district network

Internet Connection.
The network connection to an Internet Service Provider (ISP) that provides connectivity to the broader Internet.

Connectivity Goals.
At least 100 Mbps per 1,000 students and staff in short term and 1 Gbps Internet access per 1,000 users in the long term
Wide Area Network.
The network connections between district locations, including the school campuses, district offices, and any support buildings

Connectivity Goals.
Scalable to 10 Gbps per 1,000 students
Local Area Network.
The network connections within a school or district building, including both wired connections and the equipment used to provide Wi-Fi service

Connectivity Goals.
Capable of supporting one device per student
Robust broadband that fully supports digital learning requires that each part of a district’s network be working in unison and at full capacity. If one or more of the pieces of the network is broken or underperforming, then high-speed broadband and therefore rich, digital learning content cannot reach students’ devices.

Learn more about school networks

Three Prerequisites to Improving
School Connectivity

1. Every school needs access to fiber.

Fiber optic connections are the only technology that can scale to meet bandwidth needs. It is also the most cost-effective way to deliver high-speed connectivity. Districts with fiber connections have 75% lower costs and 9x more bandwidth. By 2018, 98% of schools will need fiber to meet digital learning connectivity targets. Yet today approximately 35% of schools do not have fiber.

Schools with Fiber

2. Bandwidth must be affordable.

Affordability is the number one barrier to schools acquiring the speeds necessary for digital learning. Schools with enough bandwidth for digital learning pay 1/3 the cost per megabit of those without sufficient connectivity. These schools also have Internet access budgets that are 4.5x larger per student than those on the wrong side of the digital divide.

Connectivity Goals

3. Every classroom must have robust Wi-Fi.

Wireless technology allows for connectivity to reach all the way to students’ devices and enables the rich digital learning that can transform our education system. Today 40% of schools have no Wi-Fi in their classrooms and an additional 36% lack Wi-Fi capable of supporting 1:1 learning.

Schools with Wi-Fi
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