On today’s show, Maggie Rulli visited a school dealing with a pretty common problem – slow internet connections.
More than 70% of schools in the United States don’t have enough internet access to get all of their students online. And while five or ten years ago, it might not have seemed like that big of a deal, today, with the growth of sites that can help you learn online — things like MOOCs, Khan Academy, online testing, it’s pretty crucial. And full-disclosure — faster internet can also help you watch the videos you find on our site.
But how much internet do you need? According to the FCC, you need around 3 Mbps (megabits per second) for video, and closer to 4 Mbps for HD or longer lectures from colleges. National guidelines suggest that schools should have a minimum of 100 Mbps for every 1,000 people at the school. An average class might need about 50 Mbps.
President Obama has set a goal to get 99 percent of school connected to high-speed internet, or broadband, within five years. The President wants to stay competitive – South Korea has 100 percent access, Finland and Singapore are set to be at 100% by the end of the year, but the United States? We’re at about 28%.
Those stats aren’t completely different from the United States’ global education ranking. We’re at 17, while South Korea, Finland and Singapore are all in the top five.
So what’s to be done? First, find out where your school stands. Check your speed at SpeedTest.net (but be cautious — the site has a bunch of ads that might look like content) or at SchoolSpeedTest.org.
What do you think about the issue? Do you think slow internet is slowing you down? Tell us in the comments.