September 19, 2014 - 1:00 pm
By Jon Wilkins | Managing Director

Outreach to state and school district staff and library leaders has been a critical element of the E-rate modernization process.  Commission staff has been in frequent contact with staff from school districts, state agencies, libraries, and research and education networks (RENs) from across the country.  These outreach efforts provide important insights on the varying approaches that states are taking to the challenge of delivering high-speed broadband to all schools and libraries. 

Much of the knowledge gained from our outreach is compiled in the State Connectivity Profiles released today.   Each State Connectivity Profile lays out an overview of K-12 school and library connectivity in the state, including an explanation of any state network or REN infrastructure and a breakdown overview of how schools and libraries purchase Internet access, wide area network (WAN) connections, and internal connections. 

These profiles provide a thorough summary of connectivity data, purchasing strategies, and broadband deployment policies from a geographically diverse sample of states with differing populations and approaches to delivering high-speed broadband to all schools and libraries.  All connectivity data and narrative descriptions in the State Connectivity Profiles are drawn from conversations with school district, state agency, or REN staff and have been reviewed and verified by the appropriate staff in each state. 

The State Connectivity Profiles are also an important element of our data-driven strategy for modernizing E-rate.  Many states collect detailed data on the bandwidth and rates purchased by schools and libraries, and many more are conducting statewide surveys this year.  State and school district staff and library organizations also provided much of the underlying data for our E-rate modernization staff report and school and library fiber maps.  A sincere thank you to those who have worked with Commission staff and for the helpful data that has been submitted into the record.  Chairman Wheeler has emphasized the importance of quality data on school and library connectivity and costs, and state-provided data is essential to our work.  Commission staff has learned a great deal from our conversations with school districts, state agencies, libraries and RENs, and we encourage all states to remain active in the E-rate modernization process.  State leadership will play a critical role in achieving the goals established in the E-rate Modernization Order.