10 E-rate trends shaping school internet access
A large majority of school leaders want to share federally discounted internet access with families and other off-campus organizations, according to an annual report on E-rate trends.
Administrators revealed this pressing need for increased funding flexibility in a survey done by Funds For Learning, an E-rate consulting firm.
“As the past few months have so poignantly demonstrated, an online connection should never be taken for granted,” said John Harrington, CEO of Funds For Learning. “Internet access plays a central role in our society, and schools and libraries are at the forefront of making sure our communities are included online.”
Funds For Learning’s 10th annual “E-rate Trends Report” received a record-breaking 2,138 responses from E-rate applicants, the firm said.
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Despite the massive shift to online learning, few school leaders reported using emergency COVID relief funding to close the digital divide, the survey found.
Still, a majority of respondents said the administration and efficiency of the E-rate program had improved and that recent modernization of the program was successful.
The report’s key findings include:
- 90% of respondents said insufficient internet access is a significant issue in their communities.
- 93% would share their discounted internet access off-campus if allowed by the FCC.
- 75% of respondents said they would apply for discounts in FY2021.
- 90% of respondents agree E-rate allows schools and libraries to connect more students at faster speeds.
- 91% of respondents said E-rate ensures access to sufficient broadband.
- 84% said the program promotes cost-effective purchases.
- 72% said E-rate bidding results in lower prices.
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