Nationwide demand for telecommunications and Internet access in schools was almost $2.5 billion in Funding Year 2012, a $507 million increase since 2008. 58% of that growth comes in the form of requests for telephone services, leased data lines, and Internet access from traditional telecommunications and Internet service providers. It does not come as a surprise to anyone that schools are spending more money as the need for faster data lines and Internet access increases.
But the growth in cellular phone service is startling. Since 2008, schools have increased their spending with cellular phone providers by approximately $134 million. This accounts for 26% of the overall growth in the demand for telecomm and Internet services:
When viewed from a per-student perspective, requests with cellular phone providers have increased by a significant margin compared to other types of service:
The following table details the growth in Priority 1 expenditures by school districts and individual schools between FY2008 and FY2012:
Note: the table above does not include P1 requests submitted by libraries or consortia. Duplicative funding requests have also been removed.