Washington, DC (October 16, 2014) – New results from CoSN’s (Consortium for School Networking’s) 2nd Annual E-rate and Infrastructure Survey reveal troubling gaps in U.S. school districts broadband and technology infrastructure. The report, released today, identifies affordability and adequate funding as the most significant barriers to delivering sufficient Internet connectivity and transforming the learning environment in schools. This chief hurdle mirrors the major barrier identified in the 2013 survey. Other challenges identified include lack of capacity to ensure the network reliability needed for online assessments and instruction and grossly inadequate networks in the nation’s rural school districts.
Conducted in partnership with AASA (The School Superintendents Association) and MDR, the groups collected data from K-12 school leaders and technology directors nationwide. The report is intended to inform the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in its forthcoming decisions regarding the E-rate program’s long-term funding needs and focus.
“This survey boldly underscores that our nation has a funding and bandwidth crisis,” said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN. “The FCC’s short- and long-term goals for connectivity will not be reached until there is a substantial increase in funding to meet the unmet needs of school districts across the nation, particularly in rural districts.”
“Today’s CoSN and AASA survey is a clear illustration of not only the historical success of E-rate in transforming the role of connectivity in schools, but also the critical need of ensuring the program remains viable. AASA is a strong supporter of E-rate,” said Daniel A. Domenech, Executive Director, AASA. “Our survey indicates the demand for high-speed Internet is growing, a need that E-rate remains uniquely positioned to address. As we move forward with the programmatic changes adopted in July, the need to modernize the program to transform connectivity in our classrooms, including closing connectivity and affordability gaps that persist in our most challenged areas, has never been more important. The results of this survey affirm what we have long advocated: The E-rate program remains deeply underfunded, a resource gap that – absent a permanent funding increase – will work to widen connectivity gaps and undermine E-rate’s proven success.”
According to the survey, more than 80 percent of districts indicated that the E-rate program’s current funding levels are not meeting their needs. This is the second year that districts noted the significant gap between E-rate funding and requirements. Only 9 percent of the districts have adequate bandwidth to fully meet the demand for online assessments and digital content anticipated over the next 18 months.
Other key findings of the survey include:
“We are pleased to again partner with CoSN on this important survey, which clearly shows the continued need to improve the technology infrastructure in America’s schools so that the power of digital content, mobile devices, online assessments and personalized learning can be realized. MDR has monitored and reported on technology trends for four decades as part our mission to provide timely, research-driven market intelligence to education stakeholders,” Kathleen Brantley, Senior Director, EdNET Insight.
The survey responses derived from 47 states (with Delaware, Rhode Island, Utah and the District of Columbia not participating). Over 1,000 district leaders and technology directors contributed to the survey, with 584 full responses. Survey respondents were representative of urban, rural and suburban districts as well as large, medium and small districts.
The survey is part of CoSN’s Smart Education Networks by Design initiative and is made possible by our partners Cisco, Comcast, ENA, Ipswitch, and Presidio.
To read the full results, please visit: http://cosn.org/cosns-second-annual-e-rate-and-infrastructure-survey.
AASA, The School Superintendents Association, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA advocates for the highest quality public education for all students, and develops and supports school system leaders.
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