The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) has released key preliminary findings from a national survey of nearly 450 K-12 district technology leaders from 44 states on E-Rate and broadband. The survey found that 99 percent of districts need greater internet bandwidth and connectivity within the next 36 months, and more than nine in 10 districts think the current E-Rate program inadequately meets their district’s needs. The survey is being conducted in partnership with Market Data Research and will remain open through September.
This announcement also coincides with the deadline for initial comments on the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to modernize E-Rate. The FCC will issue reply comments on October 16.
“The E-rate has done a great job providing basic internet connection to the classroom. But going forward, our students need stronger, faster networks, so they can build their critical thinking and imaginative skills and compete on a level playing field with their global peers," said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN. “As the FCC begins reviewing public comments on E-Rate, the CoSN survey findings detail the hurdles preventing educational progress as well as insights on how to overcome them – including the modernization of this vital program. It is clear that we need substantially more resources in the E-Rate fund to meet current and future needs, as we indicate in the coalition education and library filing.”
CoSN Survey key findings:
* Ninety-nine percent of districts need additional internet bandwidth and connectivity in the next 36 months.
* Nearly 93 percent of districts believe current E-Rate funding does not fully meet their district’s needs.
* The two biggest barriers for schools are ongoing monthly costs and cost of capital or upfront / nonrecurring expenses.
* Twenty percent of districts identified geography as a barrier to increasing connectivity in their schools, and 11 percent indicated their Internet providers were either at capacity or could not expand capacity.
* Only 57 percent of elementary schools and 64 percent of secondary schools have all classrooms fully equipped with wireless Internet connectivity.
* More than 37 percent of districts participate in consortium buying, and some participate in more than one purchasing cooperative.
The complete survey results will be released later this fall.
To learn more, please visit www.cosn.org/BroadbandTools.
Source: Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), www.cosn.org