EducationSuperHighway Launches Compare & Connect K-12 Tool to Help School Districts Increase Bandwidth and Close the Classroom Connectivity Gap

SAN FRANCISCO – November 15, 2016  EducationSuperHighway, the leading non-profit focused on upgrading the Internet access in every public school classroom in America, today announced the full release of Compare & Connect K-12, a free online tool that helps school district technology directors and superintendents view broadband services and bandwidth information for school districts across the country. Compare & Connect K-12 displays public E-rate application data, allowing users to explore bandwidth speeds and compare broadband prices with school districts in a specific region or in any state across the country. Having the transparency to view school district broadband and bandwidth pricing data has helped school districts get more bandwidth for their broadband budgets.

Schools need high-speed broadband and ubiquitous Wi-Fi to ensure all students have equal access to digital learning opportunities. Providing robust bandwidth today and ensuring scalability for future classroom needs is critical to enabling teachers and students to take full advantage of digital learning opportunities. While significant progress has been made, 21 million students across the country still lack the broadband they need to take advantage of digital learning. To close this gap, EducationSuperHighway launched the Compare & Connect K-12 beta in January 2016 to help school district technology leaders use their budgets more effectively to increase their broadband speeds.

School districts using the beta version of the Compare & Connect K-12 online tool have achieved significantly more bandwidth, often at little to no additional cost. Great Falls Public Schools in Montana leveraged Compare & Connect K-12 to compare the price they were paying for their bandwidth with that of neighboring school districts. Armed with this knowledge, Great Falls was able to stay with their existing provider, negotiating within their long-term contract for 330 percent more bandwidth with only an 8 percent increase in monthly cost.

“Compare & Connect K-12 gave us unprecedented insight into other school districts’ cost to bandwidth ratios, which helped us discover that we could get much more bandwidth at nearly the same cost,” said Tom Hering, Director of IT at Great Falls Public Schools. “We leveraged this data to upgrade our bandwidth to 1,000 megabits per second (Mbps), enabling more digital learning opportunities in the classroom to better prepare our students for today’s increasingly technology-centric world.”

Compare & Connect K-12 is also a resource for service providers, who are critical to finishing the job of upgrading America’s K-12 schools. Service providers can use Compare & Connect K-12 to identify school districts inside and outside of their service areas that need upgrades. Leveraging this information, service providers can identify opportunities to help schools upgrade within their existing broadband budgets and work to close the connectivity gap. Compare & Connect K-12 also recognizes service providers that are helping their school district customers meet the minimum connectivity goals in 100 percent of their districts and enables other service providers to pledge to do the same.

Enhanced Compare & Connect K-12 features in the full version include:

  • Revamped Comparison Tools: Comparison tools, leveraging maps and filters, enable school districts to view how their broadband service and prices equate to those of neighboring school districts, as well as other school districts across the state.
  • Directory of Service Providers: Useful data that allows school districts to find service providers that are offering better prices in their states and negotiate for a better price or more bandwidth.
  • Interactive State Maps: Detailed state maps provide state leaders with a comprehensive resource to search and compare connectivity across school districts – helping them to make sure that their school districts are meeting high-speed connectivity requirements and to bring access to school districts that have fallen behind.
  • Direct Link to RFPs (E-rate Form 470): Service providers can easily view school districts that have issued request for proposals in order to submit competitive bids for service.

“Armed with the knowledge of the services that other school districts can obtain with similar budgets, we’ve seen technology directors significantly increase their bandwidth, usually without an increase in cost, enabling school districts to make the most of their budgets,” said Evan Marwell, CEO of EducationSuperHighway. “Every student deserves equal access to reliable high-speed Internet access for digital learning, and Compare & Connect K-12 is helping school districts get one step closer to achieving that goal.”

To access Compare & Connect K-12, visit http://www.compareandconnectk12.org/ and type in the name of a state or school district to get started.

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About EducationSuperHighway

EducationSuperHighway is the leading non-profit focused on upgrading the Internet access in every public school classroom in America. We believe that digital learning has the potential to provide all students with equal access to educational opportunity and that every school requires high-speed broadband to make that opportunity a reality.

Our data-driven programs help accelerate upgrades in America’s schools. We catalyze federal and state action on K-12 broadband initiatives, we get fiber to schools that need it, and we make broadband more affordable for school districts. As a non-profit, our tools and services are offered free of charge. Our work helped shape President Obama’s ConnectED initiative and served as a catalyst for modernization of the Federal Communications Commission’s $3.9 billion E-rate program, earning our CEO the 2015 Visionary of the Year award from the San Francisco Chronicle.

EducationSuperHighway is funded by national foundations including Mark Zuckerberg’s Startup: Education and the Gates Foundation and our mission is supported by America’s leading CEOs.