Giving Compass’ Take:
• In rural California, only a third of households have access to the internet due to a lack of service providers and the additional expense of internet payments.
• Some school districts are creatively helping to provide students with access to wifi and routers using state budget’s “one-time school fund.” How can donors potentially expand these efforts?
• Here’s an article on how many students in the U.S. lack access to technology and high-speed internet.
Only a third of rural California households have internet access, compared to 78% of urban households, limiting the number of students who can finish online homework assignments, according to an EdSource analysis of California Public Utilities Commission data.
While low-income families are the most likely to lack internet access because the additional payment is too much, there’s also a lack of service providers and options.
California’s efforts to connect households is paying off. California families with access to the internet only via smartphone dropped from 18% in 2017 to 10% this year, according to a poll.
Districts are also coming up with creative ways to solve the lack of internet. Administrators at Woodlake High, where 86% of students qualify for free- and reduced-lunch, used one-time state funds to put up four cellular antennas for $100,000 throughout the town, allowing students to connect to WiFi using free routers.
Nationwide, the number of rural families without high-speed Internet access is even lower. About 75% of the U.S. rural population has access, which leaves 14.5 million people without it. The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) recently urged lawmakers to develop more initiatives to support digital equity.
Read the full article about internet access by Shawna De La Rosa at Education Dive.
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