New platform will help districts compare, contrast Internet access
- The nonprofit EducationSuperHighway has released Compare & Connect K-12 in beta, and the online platform gives districts a way to compare and contrast broadband Internet pricing and bandwidth information across the U.S.
- The new platform works by collecting 2015-16 E-rate application data, which is publicly available, and also by showing Internet speed, access, and wide area network (WAN) costs.
- Since the platform is still in beta, EducationSuperHighway is soliciting feedback from users and districts and plans to improve the tool based on comments.
The new Compare & Connect K-12 seems to be just what was recommended for rural districts, where it can be difficult for schools to compare and contrast costs because of geographic distance and infrastructure issues. According to a previous study released by EducationSuperHighway, the “2015 State of the States,” 77% of school districts have Internet speeds of 100 kbps per student, which meets the FCC’s definition for a speed “sufficient” for digital learning, while 21 million American K-12 students still lack adequate Internet access.
Because cost is the number one barrier to connectivity, EducationSuperHighway CEO Evan Marwell previously encouraged districts to negotiate in order to secure the lowest possible cost, and to also join forces with neighboring districts for greater bargaining power.