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Over 21 million students in America’s K-12 public schools are being left behind. To deliver digital learning content to every classroom, schools need high-speed broadband. Yet today, 23% of schools districts do not have enough bandwidth to meet the current needs for digital learning.

We call this lack of available bandwidth in the classroom The Connectivity Gap.

The Connectivity Gap is leaving millions of our students behind, particularly children in rural and low-income communities. They are left without the ability to take advantage of the promise of digital learning and lack the opportunity to learn the critical skills they need to compete and lead in today’s workforce.


When we began our work in 2012 few were aware of the slow Internet speeds in the majority of America’s classrooms. Using the SchoolSpeedTest we raised national awareness of the issue and shined a light on the Connectivity Gap. But, there is still work to be done. We now must ensure that state and district leaders make network upgrades a priority.


Network design, implementation, and maintenance require specialized skills that many school districts cannot afford. Most districts do not have experts on staff to manage increasingly complex network infrastructure. In fact, the typical district IT technician is required to support five times as many devices as their counterparts in corporate America, leaving little time for network management. This causes school networks to operate below their potential and makes it difficult to align a school’s broadband access to its learning objectives.



The typical school district pays $25 per Mbps for bandwidth — more than six times the approximately $4 per Mbps paid by best practice districts. This is despite the fact that funding for connectivity is subsidized by the federal E-rate program and that collectively schools are one of the world’s largest purchasers of Internet access and equipment.