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This Is Uncomfortable
Learning Curve

Can your school get decent wi-fi speed?

Dan Abendschein and Adriene Hill Jun 23, 2014
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Technology is pouring into schools faster than their wi-fi can keep up with it.

Virtually all school officials in a recent survey of 447 school districts said they will need to upgrade their Internet speeds within three years. The survey was done by the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), a professional association for district technology leaders.

Education Super-Highway, which promotes high-speed Internet in schools, recommends a download speed of 100 Mbps* (megabits per second), for a school with 1,000 students and staff.  But, the  organization says “the typical public school has the same Internet access as the typical home – but with 100x more users.”

The solution? Mostly more money. Nearly three-quarters of districts in the CoSN survey said the cost of the monthly Internet charges are a barrier to getting the speed they need. That wasn’t the only problem. Just over 10 percent said their Internet provider was not able to give them the higher speed they required.

Click the audio player above to hear more on the topic from Adriene Hill in conversation with Marketplace Morning Report host David Brancaccio

How to Use the Map:

The map shows  federal data on the maximum possible download speeds available at more than 70,000 schools in the country. It does not show whether the school has the top speed. You can see schools in your town, or nearby, by entering your zip code into the box above the map.

The green markers show schools that have speeds of at least 50 mbps available to them (enough for good Internet speed for at least 500 people, according to Education Super-Highway).  

Yellow markers show schools that could get 25 mbps to 50 mbps (enough for 250 to 500 people) and red markers show schools in areas where the top available speed is less than 25 mbps (enough for 250 people).  

By clicking on the markers you can see more specific information on download speed.

*CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story listed an incorrect explanation for what the abbreviation “Mbps” means.  The text has been corrected.

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