Aims to connect 99 percent of America’s students to the Internet
President Obama unveiled a new initiative Thursday called ConnectED, aimed at connecting 99 percent of America’s students to the Internet through high-speed broadband and high-speed wireless within 5 years. ConnectEd will focus on three primary areas; upgrading connectivity, training teachers, and encouraging private sector innovation. To achieve this goal he is calling on the FCC to modernize its existing E-Rate program and the federal government to make better use of existing funds.
The FFC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel seems to agree. “Just like in my day you wouldn’t have a classroom without a blackboard, today we shouldn’t have a classroom without broadband” Rosenworcel stated at the Washington Education Technology Policy Summit. She went on to say the E-Rate fund, which began in 1998 when only .03% of US households had Internet speeds faster than dial up, needs an overhaul – E-Rate 2.0. “Year-in and year-out, the demand for E-Rate dollars is double the amount the Commission makes available, and our surveys suggest that 80 percent of schools and libraries believe their broadband connections do not meet their current needs. It is time to answer the President’s call to upgrade the E-Rate program for the 21st Century. It is time for E-Rate 2.0.”
“We are living in a digital age, and to help our students get ahead, we must make sure they have access to cutting-edge technology,” said President Obama. “So today, I’m issuing a new challenge for America – one that families, businesses, school districts and the federal government can rally around together – to connect virtually every student in America’s classrooms to high-speed broadband Internet within five years, and equip them with the tools to make the most of it.”
From digital textbooks to apps and platforms that adapt to the level of individual student knowledge, many schools are already seeing the benefits of digital learning and connectivity, and schools without Internet access put their students at a disadvantage.
For the past 15 years, Unite Private Networks (UPN) has been providing this needed capacity to school districts across 20 states. In fact, we currently partner with over 1,475schools across 165 districts with speeds of 1 gigabit or higher, and applaud the president for his efforts.
UPN has been very successful in cooperating with school districts so they can take advantage of their E-rate funding to help build and fund their networks. “We have the desire, the capability, and the wherewithal to build 1 gigabit to 10 gigabit or more capacity networks for schools to compete in the digital age” stated Linda Hammer, Vice President of Education Sales at UPN, and we stand ready to help meet the needs for all districts in our 20 states.
About Unite Private Networks: UPN provides high-bandwidth, fiber-based communications networks and services to schools, governments, carriers, data centers, hospitals, and enterprise business customers across a 20 state service area. Service offerings include dark and lit fiber, private line, metro-optical Ethernet, Internet access, data center services, and other customized solutions. Headquartered in Kansas City, MO, UPN has been providing customer focused communications solutions since 1998. For more information on UPN, please visit www.uniteprivatenetworks.com.