In this morning’s New York Times, Quentin Hardy reports in the Bits blog on a push by the non-profit group EductaionSuperHighway to change the way the Federal Communications Commission provides broadband to schools. With the support of 40 executives, including the CEOs of American Express, Dell, Ebay, and Facebook, EducationSuperHighway has written a letter to the FCC demanding greater transparency and competition in the federal E-Rate program, which connects schools to the Internet.
In his post, Hardy notes:
EducationSuperHighway’s statistics say schools are overpaying for connectivity. The median cost per school, it calculates, is $25 a megabit, and the top quartile of schools pay $2 a megabit. The bottom quartile pays $85 a megabit. Schools in typically wealthier districts, which float bonds to connect themselves, have negotiated deals to pay as little as 10 cents a megabit.
Noting that schools now need approximately 100 megabits per second to support wireless connectivity but will need 10 times that in as little as three years, the letter outlines the case for less expensive broadband. You can read the letter here.