Tag Archives: education

Register now for 2020 Presidential Primary Sources Project

Registration is now open the 2020 Presidential Primary Sources Project (PPSP) program series.

PPSP is an interactive, distance-learning program in collaboration with numerous National Park Sites and Presidential Libraries around the country. These sites present a series of free, 45-minute interactive videoconferencing programs aimed at students in grades 4-12.

Through the use of primary source documents and interactive videoconferencing, the 2020 program series will take students on a journey through the historical legacies of our presidents. By the conclusion of each session, students will have gained a greater understanding of our nation’s presidents, and how they shaped the past and present of our country.

The series will run from January through March 2020.

Free registration is now open, so feel free to visit the project web page for more information and to sign up today! Or, for more details, download this brochure.

If you have any questions, reach out to Therese Perlowski, program manager, Internet2 Community Anchor Program (CAP), at cap@internet2.edu.

FCC chairman proposes $1.5 billion cap to boost E-Rate

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is proposing a more direct way to boost funding to E-Rate.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said on Wednesday that he wants a 62 percent, or $1.5 billion, increase on the cap that the agency can spend to bring Internet to schools (from $2.4 billion to $3.9 billion).

The White House called the FCC proposal to raise the E-Rate cap an “essential step” in the ConnectED initiative.

There’s a cost to the FCC’s proposal, of course; consumers and businesses could pay up to an additional 16 cents per phone line per month as part of the Universal Service Fund fee on their phone bills. That cost currently is a monthly fee of 99 cents for each phone line.

In June 2013, President Barack Obama made a trip to North Carolina to formally announce ConnectED, which included calling on the FCC to spur high-speed connectivity to schools.

“Since that time, the FCC has taken steps to modernize the E-Rate program to support high-speed connectivity for America’s schools and libraries,” a White House spokesperson said this week, citing the FCC’s action in February of this year to begin the expansion a “$2 billion down payment on the President’s ConnectED goals.

The FCC adopted an order in July to make the program more efficient and transparent so that schools get the most “bang for their E-Rate buck.” At the same time, the FCC also is moving to close the Wi-Fi gap by targeting $1 billion annually to expand Wi-Fi connections in all the nation’s schools and libraries to support modern digital learning.

The Quilt submitted ex-parte comments last week and followed up with in-person meetings with FCC Commissioners and staff to discuss further action. Among the items in our submitted comments, we were pleased with several of the changes made in the July E-Rate Modernization Order, especially the decisions to make more funding available for internal connections (Wi-Fi equipment) and to promote consortia.

The Quilt has long pointed out that it is inefficient and ineffective to bring high-capacity broadband to the building if there is insufficient capacity within the classroom or library building. Now that the FCC has given greater priority to making funding available for Category 2 equipment inside the building, it is proper for the commission to focus its next decision on how to incentivize the build-out of additional broadband capacity to the building.

According to EducationSuperHighway, 63 percent of schools lack the proper Internet infrastructure to support digital learning. The Wireline Competition Bureau and Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis released an E-Rate Data Update this week summarizing the information the FCC has received since the July E-Rate Modernization Order.

This fact sheet also provides a succinct description of the Internet connectivity gaps and Chairman Wheeler’s proposal to adjust the spending cap to a level that will enable long-term E-Rate connectivity targets to be met. The order the chairman circulated this week also will propose a series of targeted rule changes designed to ensure that the nation’s students and life-long learners can get the 21st century education required to keep the nation globally competitive.

A vote on the proposal is expected by the commission on Dec. 11.

State Connectivity Profiles highlight efforts of R&E networks

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released State Connectivity Profiles based on data they have been gathering from schools and libraries nationwide.

Distributed last Friday, it is a compilation of several state connectivity profiles describing the connectivity strategies, options and pricing for schools and libraries. The FCC said they hope to use this data to inform their ongoing analysis of the state of broadband connectivity to school and library sites, and identify successful trends in the approaches to promoting connectivity used in different areas.

According to FCC Managing Director Jon Wilkins in a blogpost on Sept. 19, outreach to state and school district staff and library leaders has been a critical element of the E-rate modernization process and that 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, he wrote, 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 is compiled in the State Connectivity Profiles. Each State Connectivity Profile lays out an overview of K-12 school and library connectivity in these states, 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.

The document containing the 12 profiles (embedded below) also has sections on Internet speeds, library connectivity, funding and more. Quilt Members CENIC, Networkmaine, Merit, MOREnet, MCNC, OARnet and WiscNet are highlighted in the state profiles.

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 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,” according to Wilkins, who thanked the many who worked to compile the data to date.

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 the E-rate modernization staff report and school and library fiber maps.

SHLB Coalition logo

Hot broadband topics highlight SHLB Coalition’s conference

The Schools Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition’s (SHLB) fourth annual conference the first week in May has plenty to offer on issues affecting broadband connectivity and adoption throughout the country, and we are excited that several Quilt members will be representing the R&E community on the agenda.

The annual conference will be held on May 7-9 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C. The program features several Quilt members and includes updates on E-Rate reform, ConnectED, the Healthcare Connect Fund, Connect America Fund, and several panels around digital inclusion, white spaces, and municipal broadband.

Quilt President and CEO Jen Leasure will be moderating a panel on E-Rate with the discussion focused on the benefits of capital investment in broadband connections for schools and libraries. Learn more about the presentation. Jamie Huber from Cheboygan-Otsego-Presque Isle Education School District (COPESD) in Indian Hills, Mich. (a member of the Quilt member Merit Network) is on the panel.

Other Quilt members participating include CENIC President and CEO Louis Fox, who is listed as a plenary speaker. John Gillispie from MOREnet will serve on a rural broadband panel along with Jon Chambers of the FCC and others.  MOREnet was one of 11 R&E networking organizations that submitted an expression of interest for the FCC’s rural broadband experiments under the Connect America Fund.  Finally, MCNC Chief Technology Officer Mark Johnson, Jim Stewart from Utah Education Network, and Ken Barber from KINBER will serve as panelists for a Gigabit Cities panel planned for the second day of the conference.

Several other FCC staffers, representatives of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, and Obama Administration officials (Tom Power and Richard Culatta) also are scheduled to present.

This annual conference is a great place to network with Quilt members, representatives from community anchor institutions, industry, and policymakers all in one place. Visit this website to view the entire agenda and register.

The day before the SHLB conference begins, the FCC will be holding an E-Rate Modernization Workshop on May 6 in the Commission Meeting Room (TW-C305).

The E-Rate Modernization Workshop will provide an opportunity for the FCC and E-Rate stakeholders to discuss the challenge of delivering high-speed connectivity to and within schools and libraries and highlight successful strategies. Additional details concerning the workshop agenda and panelists will be forthcoming.

The workshop will be free and open to the public, and also will be streamed live here.

Early May is shaping up to be a key time to address some of the hot broadband issues that are front and center on the national networking agenda.