New E-Rate Toolkit Helps School Systems Meet Connectivity Needs With Fiber

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Washington, DC (April 14, 2016) – A new toolkit unveiled today will give school system leaders the guidance to leverage the expanded fiber connectivity opportunities in the federal E-rate program.

Produced by CoSN (the Consortium for School Networking) and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, Maximizing K-12 Fiber Connectivity Through E-Rate: An Overview comes at a time when schools are feeling a bandwidth crunch.

A recent CoSN survey revealed that 68 percent of district technology officers believe their school systems do not have the bandwidth to meet their district’s connectivity demands in the next 18 months. K-12 broadband demands, meanwhile, are growing at an annual rate of more than 50 percent.

“School system leaders need to carefully consider the high-quality connectivity options that are available and can best address their needs. The new resource navigates the E-rate landscape and points district leaders in a direction to begin taking advantage of the program’s significant offerings,” said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN, and co-author of the toolkit.

The toolkit comprises three parts:

  • Part One, which provides an overview of the E-rate program and the types of fiber eligible through the program. Through case studies, it also shares how three school systems managed their fiber connectivity challenges.
  • Part Two, which describes important considerations for schools to assess their options. It also includes an additional case study that details how a school district’s E-rate reimbursement for a fiber “self-build” could support wider fiber build-out.
  • Part Three, which issues a call to action for school systems to begin taking measurable steps toward deciding on and making effective use of today’s fiber connectivity options.

“Communities across the nation need world-class Internet access. The expanded options for fiber network construction allowed under E-rate make it particularly important for school, municipal and county leaders to coordinate with one another,” said David Talbot, a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, and co-author of the toolkit.

For more information and to access the new toolkit, please visit: cosn.org/smartednetworks.

About CoSN
CoSN is the premier professional association for school system technology leaders. The mission of CoSN is to empower educational leaders to leverage technology to realize engaging learning environments. Visit cosn.org or call 866-267-08747 to find out more about CoSN’s focus areas, annual conference and events, advocacy and policy, membership and the CETL certification exam.

About the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University
Founded in 1997, the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University is dedicated to exploring, understanding, and shaping the development of the digitally-networked environment. A diverse, interdisciplinary community of scholars, practitioners, technologists, policy experts, and advocates, we seek to tackle the most important challenges of the digital age while keeping a focus on tangible real-world impact in the public interest. Our faculty, fellows, staff and affiliates conduct research, build tools and platforms, educate others, form bridges and facilitate dialogue across and among diverse communities. To learn more, visit https://cyber.law.harvard.edu and on Twitter @berkmancenter.