The Internet is becoming as critical to student success as textbooks and blackboards—in many parts of the country, even basic homework assignments require access to the Web. This reflects not only a greater variety of educational resources available online to students, but also the rising importance of digital literacy as a fundamental skill.
But even as companies create innovative new educational technologies—like cloud-based literacy programs, Skype-based tutors, and virtual math games—many policymakers and entrepreneurs are overlooking a critical factor that stands in the way of widespread adoption of these tools: adequate and universal broadband infrastructure. Without it, people in most parts of the United States are unable to use some of the most innovative educational technologies out there. As the tech leaps ahead and our infrastructure stays the same, the problem will only worsen.