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.
- 99% of the state’s 1,023 school districts meet the 100 Kbps student minimum goal.
- 54% of the state’s 1,023 school districts are at 1 Mbps/student
- 98.3% of students can access the internet at speeds of 100 kbps per student, and many students are connected at higher speeds.
- 86,505 students still need more bandwidth for digital learning.
- 27 schools still need scalable broadband
- 6,684 schools have fiber infrastructure
- The cost of broadband has decreased by 88% since 2015
High-speed broadband enables a growing number of distance learning programs at schools and colleges.
The $290 billion invested over the past 20 years (1999-2019) 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 2 million families in the U.S. have been connected through broadband adoption programs, as of 2019. Cable companies also have provided hardware, digital literacy training and technology centers. The cable industry nationally has invested more than $650 million in digital literacy training and awareness since 2011.
As a whole, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the cable industry in September 2020 launched the “K-12 Bridge to Broadband” initiative to help increase home connectivity solutions for students, as many schools adapted to remote and hybrid learning classrooms amid the pandemic. The initiative was launched by NCTA – the Internet & Television Association in partnership with EducationSuperHighway, a national non-profit that works to close the classroom connectivity gap. TCA member companies participating in the initiative include Charter Spectrum, Comcast, Sparklight, Suddenlink (Altice USA) and Vyve Broadband.
Other education initiatives:
- Charter Spectrum in September 2020 announced it doubled its original 2020 commitment to digital education, awarding a total of $1 million in grants to organizations providing broadband education, technology and training. With the 2020 grants, Charter has surpassed its multiyear commitment to award $6 million in cash and in-kind donations to support broadband education across the company’s 41-state service area, including Texas. From its launch in 2017 through July 2020, Spectrum Digital Education has benefitted 41,706 individuals in 17 states and Washington, D.C.
- Charter in May 2020 launched Spectrum Scholars, with a goal to award $400,000 annually to eligible rising college juniors with financial need. To select the 20 recipients each year, Charter Spectrum will collaborate with national non-profit organizations focused on supporting the needs and aspirations of underrepresented students.
- Comcast NBCUniversal awarded approximately $75,000 in scholarships for the 2020-2021 school year to 30 Texas students as part of its annual Leaders and Achievers® Scholarship Program. Since 2001, more than $33 million has been awarded to nearly 30,000 high school seniors across the country as part of the Leaders and Achievers program.