Access to high-speed broadband is now as vital a component of K-12 school infrastructure. However, many of our schools and libraries have significantly less bandwidth than they need. This issue will become even more critical as more services move to the cloud. While the TEACH program is now increasing the bandwidth to many school districts (and libraries) on BadgerNet, it likely will not be able to meet their needs into the future without a significant funding increase. Sufficient broadband – from whatever source – at affordable cost is essential to ensuring the success of digital learning in Wisconsin.
As schools and libraries think about the infrastructure and hardware necessary to support 21st Century digital learning, it important that leaders plan carefully, starting with a scalable infrastructure designed to support a diverse range of devices and platforms. When it comes to planning infrastructure and hardware, leaders must focus efforts on providing access much like we do electricity. Wisconsin schools and libraries should have a “technology grid” that is analogous to the electrical grid. That is, the system should be ubiquitous, affordable, and always available at school and home to facilitate 24/7 learning.
- Education Superhighway: Compare and Connect Tool and EdWeek Marketbrief, 11/15/2016
- DPI Broadband Background Paper
- State Education Technology Directors Association (SEDTA) - Equity of Access Site
- The School Health and Library Broadband Coalition (SHLB)
- FCC’s Universal Service Program for Schools and Libraries
- The FCC’s “Broadband Speed Guide”
- BadgerNet-- Wisconsin's public-sector telecommunications network. All K-12 school districts and public libraries in the state can use BadgerNet
- Technology for Education Achievement (TEACH) Wisconsin is a program that subsidizes much of the cost to provide telecommunications access to eligible schools, libraries, and educational institutions
- Wisconsin E-Rate information
- LinkWISCONSIN is a state-wide initiative to promote the availability and sustainable adoption of broadband internet access