This dramatic improvement in connectivity has leveled the playing field for students regardless of their affluence level or geographic locale and is catalyzing the adoption of digital learning across the country.
However 6.5 million students remain to be connected to sufficient broadband, and more than 2,000 schools across the country still need high-speed fiber connections. $2.4 billion of funding remains in the E-rate program to upgrade Wi-Fi to enable teaching and learning in the classroom. Increasing adoption of 1:1 learning models and other educational software has made technology essential to the 21st century classroom. There is still work to do to ensure every school and student in the country has sufficient bandwidth and Wi-Fi in every classroom.
In 2014 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) modernized the E-rate program to allow it to continue to serve the evolving needs of schools and libraries.
The changes to the E-rate program created an unprecedented short term opportunity for school districts to upgrade their network infrastructure to support their network needs for today and into the future.
Among the changes, the FCC increased the total amount of funding available to upgrade school networks. Recognizing the importance of fiber, the E-rate program updated the eligibility rules to maximize the fiber options available to schools, so they could obtain the most cost-effective and scalable solutions for the future. Additionally, the program now guarantees that every school in the country has access to funding to support their internal network infrastructure needs to enable learning in every classroom. Publicly available data means that school leaders can research and compare connectivity solutions using tools such as Compare & Connect K-12 to find and deploy scalable services to meet their needs in the long term.
Digital inequality is educational inequality. High-speed broadband and robust Wi-Fi can unlock the power of technology, personalize learning for students, empower teachers, connect parents, and ensure equal educational opportunity for all. Getting started on the path to upgrading all of your schools is a critical first step.
Learn more about the districts that have leveraged today’s unprecedented opportunity to upgrade with our help.