Bandwidth speeds more than double since 2015; Rauner committed to reaching FCC goal of one megabit per second per student
Gov. Bruce Rauner today announced that 96 percent of K-12 school districts in Illinois can access the internet at speeds of 100 kbps per second per student, a substantial improvement from 71 percent just three years ago. Median bandwidths also have markedly improved, increasing 2.5 times since 2015.
High-speed connectivity ensures that students have access to more digital resources, which in turn expands learning opportunities. By making high-speed internet accessible, educators and students gain the benefits of greater interactivity, collaboration, engagement and personal instruction.
“Our aim is to give every K-12 student in Illinois access to internet speeds on par with the FCC’s goal of one megabit per second per student,” said Rauner. “When this kind of technology is fully integrated in our classrooms, students will advance more rapidly and with much higher odds of success in the 21st century labor market.”
Illinois’ digital advances were reported by the EducationSuperHighway which tracks progress toward K-12 connectivity across the United States. The national nonprofit advocates for upgrading internet access in every public school classroom in America. Rauner is one of four governors committed to reaching the FCC broadband speed goal.
While Illinois has advanced its school digital resources, work remains. EducationSuperHighway says that 407,093 students in 32 school districts across the state still need adequate bandwidth for digital learning. There also are 136 school campuses that lack scalable fiber-optic broadband connections.
The Illinois Classroom Connectivity Initiative, launched by the Rauner administration in 2016, is an effort to ensure that all districts receive the support and funding to close this school broadband gap. The FY19 education budget includes a $17 million Broadband Expansion fund to help cover costs of fiber upgrades for school districts. There is also provision for free technical assistance.
“We commend Gov. Rauner for working toward closing the digital divide in Illinois classrooms,” said Evan Marwell, CEO of EducationSuperHighway. “I am pleased that leaders in Illinois have demonstrated their continued commitment to connecting students to vital digital learning opportunities through high-speed internet access.”