Equity of Access

Leverage State Resources to Increase Broadband Access

SETDA recommends that states leverage resources to increase broadband access in all schools
and communities. Currently, one-third of states do not have any direct state funding for broadband
either on or off campus. States should:

  • Provide direct state funding for broadband services, including funding for the E-rate match
  • Enact state policies to support deployment and adoption
  • Create and/or expand state broadband networks for economies of scale
  • Utilize innovative purchasing options for increased buying power

Minnesota Provides State Funding for Broadband Deployment in Unserved or Underserved Areas

Minnesota’s Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program provides funding for the expansion of broadband service to unserved or underserved areas. The program provides state funding for new and existing providers to invest in infrastructure. In 2016, within the $35 million fund, there is $500,000 for projects that include availability and adoption in low-income areas, and $5 million for underserved areas. Grants can provide up to 50% of project development costs, and the maximum grant amount is $5 million.

Connecticut Education Network Meets Increasing Bandwidth Needs While Reducing Costs

Statewide broadband networks can provide significant benefits to districts, including cost savings and increased bandwidth, as well as consistent levels of safety and security to comply with federal and state requirements. The Connecticut Education Network (CEN) provides low-cost, high-speed access to K-12 schools serving more than 550,000 students and 40,000 teachers and staff. CEN also serves 36 colleges and universities, 161 libraries, and several government agencies. The CEN continues to meet increased demands of 1-to-1 learning environments and online testing while keeping operational costs level, resulting in a dramatic drop in bandwidth costs. CEN also provides its members cost-recovery model operations; free content filtering for all K-12 students; and proprietary peering agreements that keep paid circuit costs to approximately 10% of bandwidth usage.

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