Federal Communications Commission

What is the Effect of Broadband on Education?

November 13th, 2009 by Anita Cheng

Last week, we released a Public Notice seeking comment on the effects of broadband access on education.  We want data, analysis, and comments about how schools are using broadband and digital learning technologies.  We also want to hear your suggestions for changes to the E-rate program to improve broadband deployment to schools and libraries.  Some sample questions:
1.  What is the current state of broadband connectivity, device availability, and adoption in U.S. schools and classrooms?
2.  What are the barriers to broadband adoption?
3.  What types of broadband initiatives have schools deployed?
4.  What types of online and digital content are schools using (e.g., online textbooks)?
5.  What has been the impact of digital literacy programs?
6.  What online learning systems (e.g., online text books, resource libraries, Distance Learning Programs) have been successfully implemented?
7.  How have communication tools like instant messaging and online video conferencing supported instructional program implementation?  How have concerns of content appropriateness been addressed with regard to minor students?
8.  How can the E-rate eligibility of applicants, equipment, and services be expanded to improve broadband deployment?  For example, should we allow use of broadband facilities at schools by the general community, rather than just by school faculty and students?
9.  How can we change E-rate disbursement or the discount methodology to maximize the deployment of broadband?  For example, should we target additional E-rate discounts to schools and libraries that have slow Internet speeds to enable such entities to catch up?
For more details, background and context, see the Public Notice.  You can respond directly to this blog or file comments through ECFS Express (or our standard submission page if you need to attach a file).  Please title comments and reply comments responsive to this Notice as “Comments (or Reply Comments)—NBP Public Notice # 15.”

One Response to “What is the Effect of Broadband on Education?”

  1. Brett Glass says:

    The "E-Rate" program, to date, has been nothing more than a subsidy to large and incumbent providers. It should be scrapped and replaced with a system of direct grants, which institutions can spend to buy service at market rates rather than at supposedly "discounted" rates which often are not lower at all.

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