National report shows progress in Missouri’s mission to provide high-speed internet to schools

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Show-Me State is making strides forward to provide high-speed internet access to schools, something Gov. Mike Parson is happy to see.

Through a partnership of the Office of the Governor, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and national nonprofit Education SuperHighway, 98 percent of students in Missouri classrooms are now able to access the educational applications and content through the internet that they need to prepare for college or a career.

“Having today’s technology available to our students is crucial in preparing our future workforce. We must ensure our classrooms are equipped with the high-speed internet to thrive in today’s economy,” Gov. Parson said. “Every school needs the ability to increase internet speeds that can support rapid innovation in K-12 education. We have made progress, but our work is not done.”

For Parson, infrastructure is a key focus of his administration, stressing the need for high-speed internet connectivity as a major component of the infrastructure improvements needed in the state.

A new report from Education SuperHighway shows that since 2015, an additional 222,389 Missouri students have classroom connectivity at the Federal Communications Commission’s goal of a minimum 100 kilobits per second (kbps) per student. Some districts have achieved the newer goal of 1 megabit per second (Mbps) per student.

During the same period, the cost of broadband in Missouri has decreased by 75 percent, from $18 per Mbps in 2015 to $4.48 in 2018. Nationally, the cost of broadband decreased by 72 percent.

And although that growth is significant, there still is work left to be one. According to the report, nearly 38,000 Missouri students need more bandwidth for digital learning, and 20 Missouri schools are still without scalable broadband, and many districts are at risk of losing access to funding.

You can learn more by visiting https://www.educationsuperhighway.org/districts/.

Benjamin Peters is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine, and also produces the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined the Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield. To contact Benjamin, email benjamin@themissouritimes.com or follow him on Twitter @BenjaminDPeters.