The big deal about data

Why we ask for your school district’s connectivity data


It is our core belief that with access to more information and more data on broadband speeds and pricing, school district leaders are empowered to find new service options, make informed broadband choices, and get more bandwidth for their budgets. As a result, more schools can upgrade their broadband networks and give their students equal access to countless digital learning opportunities.

However, transparent data is most powerful when it’s accurate. That’s why we have a team of more than 25 data quality specialists, analysts, and engineers dedicated to gaining an accurate picture of the network architecture for every public school district in America.


Our approach to achieving data accuracy:

  1. Data Collection

    Our engineering team downloads broadband services, pricing, connection type, and service provider data from the Universal Services Administrative Company’s (USAC) publicly available E-rate Form 471 filings. We also download school district demographic information from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), and boundaries for state maps from the U.S. Census.

  2. Machine Learning and Analysis

    Using machine learning and analysis, we make data-based conclusions about a school district’s connectivity. For example, if E-rate applicants provide a description of what they are applying for in the “Service Description” field of the Form 471, we infer the service they are requesting and, in those cases, update our database.

  3. Collaboration and Clarification

    We collaborate with state agencies (such as the department of education), E-rate consultants, and consortia leaders to clarify inconsistencies or anomalies in the data.

If, after those steps, our team still has questions about a school district’s network architecture, we reach out directly to the technology leader at that school district to clarify the data. Though we primarily reach out to school districts during the summer months, technology leaders are welcome to email us any time to clarify their network information.


The data that we collect and clarify powers Compare & Connect K-12 and our annual State of the States report. Most importantly, it helps our team identify those school districts most in need and make sure they have the resources to take action for their students.


Thank you state, regional, and school district leaders
for clarifying your data with our team.


We’d like to extend our sincere thanks to all of the state, regional, and school district leaders who have helped clarify data with our team. You are helping school districts leaders across the country make more informed buying decisions and get the bandwidth they need to enable digital learning for all students. 

For more detailed information about the type of data we collect and our data calculations, visit our Compare & Connect K-12 FAQ.