Education Group: Schools Need 100 Mbps per 1,000 Broadband Users

Courtney Williams's picture
Wednesday, May 23, 2012

U.S. schools will need broadband speeds of 100 Mbps per 1,000 students and staff members by the 2014-15 school year in order to meet a growing demand for Web-based instruction and a skyrocketing number of student-owned Web devices, according to a report by a trade group representing state education agencies.

The report, The Broadband Imperative, recommends schools increase their broadband speeds to 1 Gbps per 1,000 students and staff by 2017-18. Internal WANs connecting schools within districts should be 1 Gbps by 2014-15 and 10 Gbps by 2017-18, said the report, released Monday by the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA).

Schools are moving away from viewing Internet instruction as an add-on to traditional teaching, said Christine Fox, director of educational leadership and research at SETDA. Many schools are beginning to embrace online textbooks, video conferencing and online collaboration tools, she said during a press conference in Washington.

Broadband access has to be "ubiquitous and the broadband robust," said Fox, co-author of the new report. Broadband has become a "necessary utility" instead of an add-on, she added.

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