Increase Download Speed in Libraries
GOAL: To provide adequate bandwidth for library patrons.
DESCRIPTION: The role of libraries as a community technology hub or as a facilitator of digital inclusion has never been more important.
As the ability to use a computer has become a fundamental skill that enables individuals to engage with each other and access technology applications and services, libraries must not only make sure high-speed Internet is available, but ensure they have the bandwidth to support greater user experience.
A 2014 Digital Inclusion Survey conducted by the American Library Association revealed that the median download speeds of city libraries is 30 Mbps (wired) and 13 Mbps (Wi-Fi), while rural libraries reported medians of 9 Mbps (wired) and 6 Mbps (Wi-Fi).
With the FCC recommending a minimum speed of 100 Mbps for serving smaller communities and 1 Gbps for libraries serving populations greater than 50,000 people, Connected recommends that the community develop a pathway for advancing speeds in libraries if one is not in place.
Most libraries experience service degradation during peak use times, sometimes dramatically. For example, direct connection download speeds in city libraries are 69% lower during heavy usage vs. light usage periods. Increased bandwidth will help to maintain service quality for library patrons that may use the library as their only source of broadband access.
Perform a technology assessment of the library system and develop a plan that includes data collected. This entails reviewing infrastructure, software, hardware, and related costs and barriers to expansion.
Perform speed tests during peak hours and downtown to get a better understanding of user experience at the library. To perform the speed test go to http://www.speedtest.net/.
Facilitate planning meeting with local providers to determine cost saving options while increasing speed.
Identify funding sources to pay for infrastructure updates and/or changes (e-Rate).
Incorporate technology needs in library’s annual budget/plan.
Libraries and library co-ops (if applicable); Schools; Broadband providers; Local and county governments
Schools, Health, and Libraries Broadband Coalition report on broadband subsidies for anchor institutions: http://bit.ly/2dkF2qN
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