In 2015, 40 governors committed to providing their K-12 students with equal access to educational opportunity by ensuring that all of their classrooms were connected to high-speed broadband. During 2016, 34 of these governors took action, taking advantage of the opportunity presented by the modernization of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) E-rate program, to begin the process of delivering on this commitment.
The maximum advertised download speeds amongst the most popular service tiers offered by ISPs have increased from 12-30 Mbps in March 2011 (when the program first launched) to 100-300 Mbps in September 2015. These increases are not uniform across access technologies and have been driven primarily by the cable industry, with smaller increases in fiber based systems. Average DSL speeds have increased only slightly over these years and satellite speeds, over a shorter time interval, have remained constant.
The purpose of this NMC Horizon Project Strategic Brief is to assist the K-12 community and policymakers in advocating for high-quality, high-capacity, and affordable broadband connections to every classroom in the United States. It reflects the results of a May 2015 convening of national educational technology experts on the issue of high-speed networking in K-12 education.
In EcoMOBILE, students’ field trip experiences are enhanced by using two forms of mobile technology for science education–mobile broadband devices and environmental probeware.
Upgrading to higher-speed broadband lets consumers use the Internet in new ways, increases the productivity of American individuals and businesses, and drives innovation throughout the digital ecosystem. As this report describes, while the private sector has made investments to dramatically expand broadband access in the U.S., challenges still remain.