Arizona Broadband for Education Initiative
“Many Arizona public schools are leading the nation when it comes to science and technology—teaching students to code and developing skills to take with them through life. But too many students, specifically in our rural areas, and in our tribal nations are missing out. It’s 2017, but outside of our urban areas, broadband is still spotty. Let’s fix this, by connecting these rural schools to high-speed internet. This session, let’s break the firewall and get these kids connected.”
Governor Ducey, January 9, 2017
Governor Ducey believes students should have access to the internet connectivity they need, and the Arizona Governor’s Office of Education is proud to announce that Arizona has been selected to participate in the K-12 Broadband and Digital Learning Policy Academy (Broadband Policy Academy), a project administered by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) in partnership with EducationSuperHighway (ESH). Through the Broadband Policy Academy, the NGA Center and ESH provide consultation support to assist states in the development of a comprehensive vision, strategy, and implementation plan to expand K-12 internet access, affordability, and student digital learning opportunities in schools across their state. The Broadband Policy Academy will allow the Arizona Governor’s Office of Education, the Arizona Department of Education, and rural community partners to begin closing the internet access gap in our state through collaboration and shared effort.
ESH RELEASES 2016 STATE OF THE STATES ANNUAL REPORT ON K-12 BROADBAND CONNECTIVITY
In Jnaury 2017, EducationSuperHighway released their 2016 State of the States report profiling the status of Internet connectivity in K-12 public schools across the nation. The report shows the great progress that has been made on upgrading schools both nationally and state-by-state - 34.9 million students and 2.4 million teachers in 70,000 schools now have the minimum connectivity they need for digital learning.
Highlights from Arizona:
- 77% of school districts representing 679,131 students meet the minimum connectivity goal of 100 kbps per student.
- 58 school districts upgraded their networks in 2016 leading to 434,482 students getting more bandwidth.
- 91% of schools have the fiber connections needed to keep up with growing bandwidth demand from students and teachers.
- 73% of school districts report sufficient Wi-Fi in all their classrooms. $56M of E-rate funding remains to support Wi-Fi network upgrades.
- 23% of school districts are maximizing the bandwidth they are getting for their budgets.
Click here to see a full copy of the 2016 State of the States Report.
FULL VERSION OF COMPARE & CONNECT K-12 APPLICATION RELEASED
For schools interested in expanding their broadband access through the Arizona Broadband for Education Initiative, the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) and the Governor’s Office of Education would like to inform you of an incredible tool that could assist your school in those efforts.
With the 2017 E-Rate filing window rapidly approaching, the nation’s leading broadband non-profit, EducationSuperHighway, released the full version of its Compare & Connect K-12 application this past month. This easy-to-use tool is equipped with powerful new features that assists schools in getting the most bandwidth for their broadband budgets.
Compare & Connect K-12 allows schools to:
- Find out what other districts are buying to support digital learning
- Compare broadband options in a state or across the country
- See what service providers are offering to nearby districts
- View a summary of 2016 E-Rate filing
The information featured on Compare & Connect K-12 is generated from school districts’ E-Rate form 471 applications, as well as clarifications made by the EducationSuperHighway team. This tool not only makes broadband and pricing data transparent, but it provides real perspective into a school’s particular financial and geographic situation, while also opening up possibilities that it never knew that it had.
The Governor’s Office of Education and ADE hope that Compare & Connect K-12 is helpful in your school’s pursuit of expanding its broadband access. For questions or additional information, contact Alyssa Cubello from EducationSuperHighway at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NEW OPPORTUNITY LOOKS TO CONNECT SCHOOL TO BROADBAND
November 17, 2016
Arizona’s vision is for schools statewide to have scalable, affordable and reliable internet access. With access to high-speed broadband, students can take remote classes and receive digital learning opportunities that they never knew existed. Educators will be able to dramatically enhance their professional development capabilities and communities will be transformed by the cultural and economic benefits of simply being connected to the internet.
As part of the Arizona K-12 Broadband Upgrade Program, ADE will be working with LEAs to make the most of the E-Rate dollars available them. Already, the E-Rate program has assisted 3.2 million students, improved the infrastructure of 2,229 buildings and benefitted 545 schools in Arizona.
As of 2008, the state was able to procure just 33 percent of its requested E-Rate funds, receiving only about $60 million of nearly $180 million in funding requests. Due to its performance in recent years, that number has now increased to roughly 90 percent, allowing technology to reach more Arizona students than ever before.
IN THE NEWS: AZ's E-Rate Program Offers Affordable Access For Schools (AZednews)
November 9, 2016
The Arizona Department of Education would like to inform you of an incredible opportunity for underserved Local Education Agencies to receive broadband access at potentially no cost to the school.
Currently, only six percent of Arizona schools meet the FCC target of $3 per MB for internet access. Furthermore, many schools in our state’s most rural areas possess no access to any internet connection whatsoever.
Arizona’s vision is to provide statewide scalable internet access, as well as faster connectivity to every school so that every student in the state has reliable broadband access.
BLOG: Governor's Office & Arizona Department of Education Partner to Increase Internet Access for Arizona Students
March 18, 2016
High-speed internet access. For most of us, we never think twice about it - it's just there. However, not every citizen in our state is lucky enough to get internet wherever they want, whenever they want, as fast as they want it. Arizona has diverse terrain that includes mountains, deserts, and widespread distances between consolidated populations (over 84 percent of the population lives in 10 percent of the state). These factors create obstacles for service providers to install the necessary infrastructure for broadband connectivity. The resulting lack of access to high-speed internet in rural areas makes it difficult for teachers to access online tools for classroom instruction, conduct professional development, complete certification, and utilize student dashboards with real-time instructional data that informs instructional decisions. It also makes it challenging for students to access online courses, perform online research, take online assessments, and utilize other free educational services created by the state.
Governor Ducey believes students should have access to the internet connectivity they need, and the Arizona Governor’s Office of Education is proud to announce that Arizona has been selected to participate in the K-12 Broadband and Digital Learning Policy Academy (Broadband Policy Academy), a project administered by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) in partnership with EducationSuperHighway (ESH).