Nearly six-in-10 school districts (59%) have reached the FCC goal of 1 Mbps per student, according to a new report from Connected Nation.
The report also found that the national median bandwidth per student has risen above 1 Mbps for the first time, and now stands at 1.25 Mbps per student. Additionally, the median cost per megabit has decreased from $7 in 2015 to $1.39 today.
However, 1,703 school districts are still paying more than $5 per megabit, and 746 districts are paying more than $10 per megabit.
Connected Nation also announced that it has refreshed the ConnectK12.org website, in partnership with Funds For Learning. The site provides free internet speed and pricing data to “aid state and school district leaders in comparing progress with their peers, identifying potential alternative broadband solutions, and ultimately negotiating better deals for services,” according to a press release.
“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, in a prepared statement. “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.”
The current figures mark a significant increase in the percentage of schools meeting the 1 Mbps threshold. In 2019, only 38% of schools had reached that level, according to a report from the Education Superhighway.
That report also found that 1 Mbps-per-student connectivity was 14% higher in states with statewide broadband networks in comparison with states where connectivity was purchased at the school district level.