67% of U.S. School Districts Meet FCC Internet Connectivity Benchmark

However, there are 23.5 million K-12 students who still need improved internet access to maximize digital learning.

67% of U.S. School Districts Meet FCC Internet Connectivity Benchmark

(Photo: Prostock-studio, Adobe Stock)

A new report found more than two-thirds of school districts in the United States meet the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) bandwidth goal of 1 Mbps per student.

The 2022 Report on School Connectivity, in its third iteration, was released by Connected Nation‘s (CN) Connect K-12 Program in collaboration with Funds For Learning (FLL). Connect K-12’s site aggregates, analyzes, and visualizes federal E-rate program data and school internet pricing to provide state and district leaders with the information they need to negotiate better internet pricing packages and identify broadband solutions.

The latest data also shows 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, CN’s Vice President of Education Initiatives. “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.”

Jordan said while these numbers are impressive, a third of school districts are still not meeting the capacity threshold needed to enable digital learning in every classroom, meaning there are 23.5 million students who still need improved access.

Additional findings from the report include:

  • The median cost per megabit for schools meeting the FCC goal decreased from $11.73 in 2015 to $4.90 in 2017 to $0.97 in 2022
  • Districts not meeting the FCC goal are paying a higher median price per megabit at $1.75
  • 21.3 million students have adequate bandwidth in their classrooms, an increase of more than 3 million students since 2021
  • 4,304 districts nationwide have internet service contracts about to expire, representing a significant opportunity to upgrade for less
  • Arkansas, Hawaii, and North Dakota have achieved or surpassed the FCC bandwidth goal for 100% of their students

The data from the report is available to the public on the ConnectK12.org website. For questions about the 2022 report, the Connect K-12 website, or the program’s data, Emily Jordan can be reached at ejordan@connectednation.org.

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