WASHINGTON — Connected Nation’s Connect K-12 Program released its 2022 Report on School Connectivity in collaboration with Funds For Learning. The annual report, now in its third iteration, includes findings on the nation’s progress toward meeting the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC’s) bandwidth goal of 1 Mbps per student in U.S. schools.
The latest data shows 67% of school districts across the country are now meeting that bandwidth target. In addition, the median cost per megabit for schools meeting the FCC goal has dipped below $1 for the first time.
“These are significant milestones for our nation’s school districts as they strive to ensure that digital teaching and learning are possible for all students, regardless of location,” said Emily Jordan, vice president of education initiatives for Connected Nation. “Only two years ago, the number of districts meeting the FCC ‘s goal was less than half, at just 47%. The good news is the cost of internet access is now lower than ever before, making it possible for more districts to upgrade affordably.”
In fact, the median cost per megabit for schools meeting the FCC goal has decreased substantially in less than 10 years — from $11.73 in 2015 to $4.90 in 2017 to $0.97 in 2022. However, there is still more work to be done.
“Right now, a third of school districts still are not meeting the capacity threshold needed to enable digital learning in every classroom, every day,” said Jordan. “That accounts for 23.5 million students across the United States who still need improved access.”
The data in the report was compiled and analyzed by CN in partnership with FFL and is available to the public on the Connect K-12 website. The free site aggregates, analyzes, and visualizes federal E-rate program data and school internet pricing to provide state and district leaders with the critical information they need to negotiate better internet pricing packages and identify broadband solutions.
This provides both a national snapshot of school connectivity as well as a district-level look at the data.
Some key takeaways from this year’s connectivity report are listed below.
- Two-thirds (67%) of school districts nationwide now meet or exceed the 1 Mbps per student.
- More than 21 million students have adequate bandwidth in their classrooms, an increase of more than 3 million students since 2021.
- More than 4,300 districts nationwide have internet service contracts about to expire, representing a significant opportunity to upgrade for less.
- Districts not meeting the FCC goal are paying a higher median price per megabit — $1.75 per Mbps compared with $0.97 Mbps for those meeting the goal.
- The states of Arkansas, Hawaii, and North Dakota have achieved or surpassed the FCC bandwidth goal for 100% of their students.