On May 29, 2019, the FCC released their 2019 Broadband Deployment Report, as mandated by Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Section 706 of the Act requires that the FCC “….determine annually whether advanced telecommunications capability is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion…”. The Commission is further required to report on broadband deployment in our nations elementary and second schools and classrooms. The FCC relied upon publicly available data from EducationSuperHighway’s Annual State of the State’s Report and the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) Annual Infrastructure Survey Report.
The FCC continues to “…measure availability of advanced telecommunications capability in “elementary and secondary schools and classrooms” using a short-term and long-term goal for broadband connectivity to schools of 100 Mbps per 1,000 students and staff and 1 Gbps per 1,000 students and staff, respectively. According to the 2018 State of the States Report, 98% of school districts or 44.7 million students, now meet the Commission’s short-term connectivity goal of 100 Mbps per 1,000 users, up from 39.2 million students in 2017. However, this means that 2.3 million students are not receiving broadband service that meets the short-term connectivity goal….”
In terms of the long-term broadband connectivity goals the report highlights that “…for schools of 1 Gbps per 1,000 users, the 2018 State of the States Report estimates that, based on the most recent data, 28% of school districts currently meet the goal, which is up from 22% in 2017 and just 9% in 2015. Similarly, CoSN’s report notes that 36% of school districts were meeting the long-term connectivity goal, more than double the number of districts reporting progress toward that goal in 2017. The 2018 State of the States Report also finds that nearly half of the smallest school districts in the United States, averaging just 200 students and in rural areas, are already meeting the long-term goal. EducationSuperHighway estimates that 1,356 schools still need access to fiber in order to meet the short- and long-term connectivity goals, down 34% from the 2,049 schools without access to fiber in 2017, and 86% from the 9,500 schools in 2015…”
The FCC 2019 Broadband Deployment Report can be viewed here