‘Virtually all’ Virginia public schools meet FCC standards for student internet access

Education

RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — The Virginia Department of Education says “virtually all” of Virginia’s 1.3 million public school students are attending schools that meet or exceed the Federal Communications Commission’s standard for internet access.

The information comes from nonprofit EducationSuperHighway’s latest state connectivity snapshot.

Several years ago, in 2015, less than half of Virginia students — about 46 percent — attended schools that met the FCC’s short-term standard of providing at least 100 Kbps per student.

100 Kbps is considered the minimum bandwidth to support a one-to-one device-to-student ratio.

“High-speed internet access is critical to prepare students for postsecondary education and to take advantage of high-tech employment opportunities in the coming decade,” Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane said. “But technology does not stand still, and we will continue to collaborate with leaders in the public and private sectors to ensure that all students — whether in school or at home — can benefit from ever-evolving digital-learning opportunities.”

EducationSuperHighway says Gov. Ralph Northam and the state department of education’s K-12 Learning Infrastructure Program has helped boost the access to the internet.

Here are some of the program’s accomplishments, per the VDOE:

  • “Identifying $15 million in existing state funds to support fiber infrastructure construction, allowing Virginia school divisions to leverage $84.3 million in federal E-rate funds since 2015;
  • Providing tools and technical assistance to help divisions obtain E-rate discounts on internet and internal Wi-Fi connections;
  • Establishing master contracts allowing school divisions to realize significant savings when purchasing broadband and Wi-Fi equipment; and
  • Promoting price transparency, providing school divisions with a stronger hand when negotiating with service providers.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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