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Annual Survey Looks at Barriers to Internet Connectivity in U.S. Schools

Annual Survey Looks at Barriers to Internet Connectivity in U.S. Schools

The Consortium for School Networking has released its third annual infrastructure Survey this week to examine the state of internet connectivity in schools throughout the U.S.

The findings are a result of responses from more than 530 district leaders across 48 U.S. states.

The survey found that "affordability remains the top barrier to robust internet connectivity in their schools,” said eSchoolNews.

Half of the surveyed schools said that cost through ongoing recurring expenses and upfront expenses are the biggest challenge to having “robust internet connectivity,” the article said.

This is consistent with the Consortium’s past two surveys despite internet connection affordability improving since last year.

As a result, many schools are unable to offer adequate connection speeds, broadband access, current wireless standards or proper internet bandwidth.

According to the article, “[n]early a quarter of all school systems have reached only 10 percent of the Federal Communications Commission’s short-term broadband connectivity goal (100 Mbps per 1000 students).”

One out of three school systems said it does not use current wireless industry standards and "more than two-thirds of school systems do not have sufficient internet bandwidth for today and the coming 18 months.”

By way of improvements, more schools have expanded access to lit fiber and many schools have seen wide area network connection speed improvements along with faster wireless access points.

Indeed, despite challenges, most school leaders expressed confidence in their connectivity.

"Up from 58 percent in 2014, two-thirds of school systems indicated their WiFi could handle a 1:1 initiative (28 percent very confident and 38 percent somewhat confident),” the article said.

The survey also found that many schools are in need of digital equity strategies to assist students without internet access at home.

“Three out of four school systems do not have any off-campus strategies for connecting students at home and after school.”

Read the full story here.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

11/05/2015

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