Industry Insights: Education - Bandwidth Evening the Learning Curve

Written by Kristi Salmon on October 24, 2017.

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As technology continues to expand and grow, the lines of traditional learning evolve into the digital transformation. New methods for educators to collaborate and communicate, while students discover new ways in which to learn are being created and recreated over time. Online courses, also known as eLearning or virtual classrooms have changed the way students learn. Students of all ages and backgrounds are able to learn and interact with professors and fellow students outside their own campus.

Whether teachers are trying to access online curriculum, streaming education live cameras from YouTube or students are simply using the internet…all can put a strain on the school network. The evolution in learning and teaching, coupled with the rise of mobile devices, leaves many education facilities across the country scrambling for ways to not only embrace new technologies, but support them, and stay ahead of the curve. Online testing requirements must sustain every student online at the same time.  That is a heavy amount of broadband weight given the school’s normal day–to-day operations.

Broadband use doesn’t stop with students, but is an imperative tool for administration too.  Centralization and privacy of student records is critical, along with the ability to access that data from any area in the school district at any given time. Furthermore, in today’s world, many schools are advancing into security cameras where footage can be accessed via tablets at a moment's notice – so a school is always aware of where a student is.

The new way to learn

In recent years, "digital" has been the growing trend in the education sector, however education providers often are not sure how it works or how to get started. produced an infographic which details some of the benefits through technology, highlighting some key statistics below:

Make The Jump To Digital 800

As you can see from the above, $7 billion dollars was being spent on textbooks that were 7 to 10 years old. Technology was shown to improve school budgets between $250 to $1,000 per student, per year. A PBS LearningMedia survey stated that 74% of teachers said using classroom technology helps to motivate students to learn. Technology is a part of our lives – a 2014 Pew Research study found the following:

  • 58% of American adults owned a smartphone
  • 32% own an e-reader
  • 42% own a tablet

Various sources have also cited that children will often use or own their own mobile device.

  • 38% of children under 2 have used a mobile device
  • 56% of children aged 8 - 12 own a smartphone
  • 91% of teens go online for information

What these figures indicate is that technology has become a boon when it comes to communication, collaboration, and even education.

Fast forward to 2016 and the newest report from the Babson Survey Research Group, its 13th year surveying the rising growth of online education in the US, found that the number of students that were taking online courses grew to 5.8 million, a trend that has been consistent for the last 13 years; 28% of college students are enrolled in at least one online course for their semester.

What schools need to consider

Due to the influx of percentages, education facilities have started to implement plans to include or increase their use of technology, however they may not be considering the bandwidth required for educators and students. In a 2012 interview, CEO and founder of the San Francisco nonprofit Education Superhighway, Evan Marwell, stated that while 97% of schools did indeed have broadband access, they were using the same speed of a typical household. The problem with this scenario is that a typical residence supports up to 4 people on a network, while a campus needs to support 400 or more students, teachers, and faculty.

The Federal Communications Commission, or FCC, established guidelines in 2014 on what a typical campus network should encompass: a connection speed of at least 100 Mbps per 1,000 students was considered a short term solution, while 1 Gigabit per second was the minimum for a long term solution. This means that campuses, both in large cities and rural areas, need to be looking at the future of the internet in order to keep the pace with the growing penetration of mobile devices and learning techniques.

This is where Gigabit+ Fiber Solutions from Mediacom Business changes the education landscape. This evolution of high-speed internet has the capability to connect all locations in a campus, accessing the same data in real time. And with this level of capacity, schools can utilize all the advanced education platforms described above, while not maxing out the campus’ connection and doing so with superior speed.  Broadband gives teachers the space to evolve their classrooms and reach new levels of education that were never possible prior.

Brewton City Schools in rural Alabama is just one of our customers within the education sector that we provide data fiber solutions to, enabling their rural campuses to connect well outside the city lines and offer their students another level of education. Brewton City Schools was not only able to achieve an internet solution on par with a larger suburban campus, and ensure their students have the advantage of technology to facilitate learning but saved money while doing so.



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