As an information provider, cable is a natural fit with education.
Cable is committed to enhancing and promoting education. Cable companies are working with schools to expand internet connectivity, make going online more affordable, promoting distance learning, and responding to students’ increasing use of tablets and digital devices both at home and school.
Connecting kids at school, or helping them connect at home, is critical not just for their education now, but to prepare them for an increasingly technical and competitive U.S. economy.
In Texas, cable operators provide free video services to more than 4,000 schools and free high-speed Internet to more than 300 community centers across the state.
A recent report by CTAM, Education at the Speed of Fiber, presents data from EducationSuperhighway, a nonprofit focused on upgrading internet access in every public school classroom in America. EducationSuperhighway’s progress report for Texas finds:
- 4,379,262 students in 938 school districts – 92 percent of the state’s school districts – are meeting the 100 kbps per student minimum connectivity goal.
- 98 percent of the state’s schools have fiber infrastructure.
CTAM report specifically notes one project in Texas:
“In Texas, the five-campus Wylie School District has adopted a “bring your own device” approach that invites students to use their own laptops, tablets and smartphones within the classroom to access web-based learning applications. With a limited procurement budget to help outfit K-12 students who don’t have their own devices, Wylie required that the data network supporting the plan meet stringent performance conditions – at an affordable cost.
“That’s where Spectrum Enterprise came in. The local cable company, drawing on its experience as an E-rate eligible telecommunications provider, drew up plans to provide an upgraded, 1 Gbps fiber access network that lets teachers leverage cloud-based resources like Google Apps for Education to enrich the learning experience. Replacing a previous 50 Mbps circuit, the new Spectrum Enterprise network delivers symmetrical connectivity, providing private, redundant connectivity with a future-proofed upgrade path the district already has utilized as its usage has climbed.”
High-speed broadband enables a growing number of distance learning programs at schools and colleges.
The $275 billion invested over the past 20 years by cable providers to upgrade and boost internet access has made a tremendous impact on how students learn today.
The tremendous growth in student digital devices has emerged as a leading driver of bandwidth expansion, finds an annual infrastructure survey by the Consortium for School Networking.
Cable companies also are doing their part by making low-cost internet available to low-income families with children who qualify for the National School Lunch program (see “Digital Divide” talking points). More than 1.5 million families have been connected through these cable initiatives, which also include hardware, digital literacy training and technology centers. The industry has invested more than $300 million into these broadband adoption programs.
Cable providers also offer scholarships. For example, Comcast NBCUniversal awarded $69,000 in scholarships for the 2018-19 school year to 65 Houston area students as part of its annual Leaders and Achievers® Scholarship Program. Since 2001, more than $28 million has been awarded to nearly 27,000 high school seniors across the country as part of the Leaders and Achievers Program. More