September 26, 2017
The study, which was conducted by IHS Markit and Point Topic on behalf of the EC, found that in the 12 months to the end of June 2016 some 12.8 million new EU households gained access to high-speed broadband delivered via next-generation access (NGA) networks. Very-high-speed-DSL (VDSL) continued to be the “key driver” of next-generation coverage growth across the EU – increasing 7.1 percentage points and reaching 48.2% of EU homes. However, there was still found to be a significant gap between rural and national NGA coverage with only 39.2% of rural households across the EU having access to high-speed broadband services.
This stands in contrast to the near-ubiquity of 4G LTE networks, which expanded at a fast pace and covered 96% of EU households by the end of June 2016.
“Availability of 4G LTE services has become near-universal in many study countries,” said Alzbeta Fellenbaum, principal analyst at IHS Markit.
“In 11 countries, LTE coverage reached 99% of households and overall, LTE coverage now reaches similar levels to those of 3G HSPA networks.
This is a major improvement compared to just four years ago, when 4G LTE services were available to only 59.1% of EU homes.”
The challenges facing America’s K-12 public schools often seem overwhelming. But, there’s one trend that school leaders across the country can be proud of: More students have access to high-speed internet1 in schools than ever before. According to the 2017 State of the States2 report from connectivity advocacy group Education Superhighway, the connectivity gap in schools was reduced by 84 percent between 2013 and 2017, resulting in more than 35 million students gaining access to high-speed internet.
How did this sudden jolt in connectivity happen? Evan Marwell, founder and CEO of Education Superhighway, attributes the success to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) E-rate modernization grant program, along with the hard work of state governors and local district leaders, and internet providers who have been flexible to accommodate schools’ needs:
“The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) 2014 E-rate modernization was the catalyst that gave way to a massive broadband expansion throughout America’s public education system. Across party lines and geographic boundaries, governors, state and district leaders, schools, and service providers have thoughtfully leveraged E-rate’s resources to make the promise of nationwide connectivity a tangible reality.”
Thanks to these efforts, there are currently 39.2 million students, as well as 2.6 million teachers, connected to high-speed internet in 74,000 schools throughout the country. Nine states have reportedly achieved full access for 100 percent of their students. But challenges remain, says Education Superhighway.
More than 6.5 million students still don’t have access to affordable high-speed internet, the group reports. In addition, some 2,049 U.S. schools lack the fiberoptic infrastructure required for access and 10,000 schools need better access to Wi-Fi. Want more on boosting student connectivity? Sign up for the TrustED newsletter.
For school district leaders without high-speed internet access in the classroom, or for those looking to improve on the access they already have, Education Superhighway outlines five steps for closing the connectivity gap:
- Assess future needs
Education Superhighway suggests starting to plan new contracts with internet providers at least three years before the agreement will actually be enacted. That means examining your current needs and estimating future growth.
- Make sure you maximize E-rate application and RFP forms
School leaders should work with technology experts to ensure their applications yield more competitive proposals from internet-service providers.
- Investigate deals made by similar districts
Find out what peers in other districts are doing to maximize access and who they’re working with to get the job done.
- Shop around
It doesn’t matter if you have a long relationship with a service provider. Do not be afraid to look for other options that are potentially cheaper or more efficient.
- Prioritize funding for broadband
Certain E-rate programs will end in the next few years, Education Superhighway reminds school leaders. Districts should make broadband access and expanded connectivity a priority now to ensure they get the best value.
Despite the immense progress made in just four years, Education Superhighway isn’t resting on its laurels. Take a look at the campaign-style video they produced to achieve their goal of 100 percent high-speed access by 2020.
Is your school or district fully equipped with broadband and Wi-Fi access?
If not, how are you making connectivity a priority in your classrooms?
Tell us in the comments.
County received 679 responses
COLUMBUS – A survey asking Polk County residents about their current broadband service received 679 responses with the survey closing on July 31.
The survey had been available since June 1.
The Polk County Board of Commissioners met Monday, Aug.
7 and heard from MIS director Bruce Yelton.
Yelton said the county’s responses included 644 online and 35 handwritten.
The county is in the process of analyzing the data so they can get the information out to broadband providers.
“Hopefully we can get some interest in expanding our coverage,” Yelton said.
County manager Marche Pittman asked how long it will take to get the data together.
Yelton said David Weisgerber, GISP should have it together in the next couple of weeks.
Pittman said he thinks it would be good to show broadband providers how important commissioners see broadband for the citizens of the county. He said he’d check with other counties to see how they’ve handled getting better service, but he thinks the county should hold a work session.
Commissioner vice chair Jake Johnson said he’d like to see broadband providers come and sit down for a roundtable session with commissioners.
Commissioner Ray Gasperson asked Yelton how the county advertised the survey.
Yelton said the county put word out on Facebook, the county’s website and had brochures throughout the county.
He said the people who are happy with their service likely didn’t fill out a survey.
Pittman said most of the poor service is out in the county. The towns of Columbus and Tryon and City of Saluda likely have decent service, Pittman said.
“So 600-something (surveys) isn’t a low number,” Pittman said.
Pittman said the data should be ready by the end of the month and suggested the county schedule a meeting with providers in September.
Commissioners set up a broadband committee last year and after several meetings the committee came up with questions to identify broadband needs of the county.
The survey asked, among other things, if residents had internet access and if they feel it is adequate.
The committee was established after residents expressed concerns about having little to no internet access, particularly in the unincorporated parts of the county.
Polk County is working with Keith Conover, technical assistance director for the western region of the N.C.
Department of Commerce, who will help coordinate a meeting with broadband providers in the area and provide a map of service in the county.