New data: Connect K-12 report shows 59% of U.S. school districts now meet FCC internet connectivity benchmark
27.6 million students attend schools that still lack adequate bandwidth to support digital learning in every classroom, every day
Washington, D.C. (January 10, 2022) – Connected Nation’s “Connect K-12” program has released its report on U.S. school connectivity for E-rate Funding Year 2021, which includes findings on the nation’s progress toward meeting the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) bandwidth goal of 1 Mbps per student.
In partnership with Funds For Learning, Connected Nation has also refreshed its ConnectK12.org website, which provides free internet speed and pricing intelligence to help state and district leaders compare progress with their peers, identify potential alternative broadband solutions, and ultimately negotiate better deals for services.
“Our objective is to help every single school in the country achieve the FCC’s bandwidth goal so that immersive digital teaching and learning opportunities are made possible in every classroom, every day,” said Emily Jordan, Connected Nation’s Vice President for Connect K-12. “During the pandemic, we have witnessed just how important robust connectivity is to our nation’s students and teachers. And, given the unprecedented level of state and federal investment in learning devices such as laptops and Chromebooks for student use, it’s now more important than ever that state and school district leaders everywhere strive to achieve the FCC’s 1 Mbps per student bandwidth goal so that poor connectivity is not a barrier to digital learning.”
ConnectK12.org is aggregates, analyzes, and visualizes federal E-rate program data at the district and state levels. The site currently reflects school connectivity data for Funding Year 2021. Key takeaways include:
- 59% of school districts nationwide now meet or exceed the 1 Mbps per student
- That represents a 25% increase from the number of districts that were meeting the goal in 2020
- The national median bandwidth per student has risen above 1 Mbps for the first time to 1.25 Mbps
- The median cost per megabit has decreased from $7.00 in 2015 to $1.39 today
- Unfortunately, 1,703 school districts across the U.S. are still paying more than $5 per megabit, and 746 districts are paying more than $10 per megabit.
“While these findings are encouraging, there is still much work to be done. The data show that 27.6 million students in the U.S. still lack adequate speeds to effectively participate in digital learning activities in the classroom,” said Jordan. “The good news is there is an opportunity right now for 1,798 school districts (representing 12.1 million students) that have contracts expiring to pursue upgrades during the FY2022 E-rate funding cycle, which is currently underway. That is the equivalent of 14% of all school districts nationwide, and they all can use Connect K-12 to make better purchasing decisions.”
Forty-three (43) states’ governors have made commitments to ensuring that their schools have adequate bandwidth to enable digital teaching and learning in every classroom, every day. Those commitments are outlined on each state’s “overview” page.
It takes just a few seconds to access district- or state-level data on connectk12.org. The site was designed to make it possible for district leaders to easily compare their current internet pricing and speeds with those of nearby districts, simply by searching for their district’s name on the home page.
In addition, state-level leaders can see how their state compares with others by accessing the site’s national dashboard, or they can view their own state-specific snapshot by clicking on the “state” tab at the top of the home page. State snapshots are also available as downloadable PDFs.
Questions regarding the 2021 report, website, or underlying data may be directed to Emily Jordan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jessica Denson, Communications Director
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About Connected Nation: The national nonprofit celebrated 20 years of service in 2021. Connected Nation’s mission is to improve lives by providing innovative solutions that expand access to and increase the adoption and use of broadband (high-speed internet) and its related technologies for all people. Everyone belongs in a Connected Nation.
Connected Nation works with consumers, local community leaders, states, technology providers, and foundations to develop and implement technology expansion programs with core competencies centered on a mission to improve digital inclusion for people and places previously underserved or overlooked. For more information, please visit connectednation.org and follow Connected Nation on Facebook and Twitter.
About Funds For Learning: Funds For Learning® is a professional firm specializing in the federal E-rate funding program. Its mission is to provide high-quality consulting and support services for the needs of E-rate program participants, including preparing and submitting paperwork, and helping clients to understand and maintain compliance with E-rate rules and regulations. Proudly serving schools and libraries since 1997. For more information, please visit https://www.fundsforlearning.com/.