More than 11 times as many students nationwide have high-speed internet access at school than four years ago, putting the U.S. on the verge of providing broadband connections to every public school in the country. In California, 97 percent of students have broadband access, up from 76 percent only four years ago, according to a report by non-profit broadband advocacy group EducationSuperHighway.
The “State of the States” report analyzed efforts to connect public schools across the nation, outlining the ways states are working toward the goal of 100-percent connectivity, the progress made over the past four years, and funding available to improve school districts’ internet infrastructure.
Of 7,755 schools in California, only 144 lack fiber infrastructure, and these schools can get connected with the support of federal E-rate and state matching funds. The speed of access has also increased, with data transfer rates more than three times as fast as four years prior.
“Connecting the classrooms of America to high-speed broadband throws open the doors to the world and enriches our children’s education in so many wonderful ways,” Gov. Jerry Brown said in the report.
California school districts have utilized more than $345 million in federal funding since 2015 to upgrade their Wi-Fi and computer networks, with $290 million remaining for such modernization. However, $145 million of this upgrade funding must be accessed this year by 336 school districts or it will expire.
Nationally, 98 percent of K-12 school districts have broadband access, a 68-percent increase since 2013.