For Immediate Release: January 19, 2017
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Brian Coy, (804) 225-4260, Brian.Coy@governor.virginia.gov

Governor McAuliffe Announces Major Increase in Availability of High-Speed Internet Access to Schools and Classrooms across Virginia

~State of the States Report finds 72 percent of Virginia school divisions now meet minimum connectivity goal; up from 46 percent in 2015 and 33 percent in 2014~

 

RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced that Virginia has made significant progress in the ongoing effort to bring high-speed internet to more schools and students statewide. According to EducationSuperHighway’s annual “State of the States” report on K-12 broadband connectivity, 72 percent of school divisions in the Commonwealth now meet the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) minimum Internet access goal of 100 kbps per student, which is up from 46 percent in 2015 and 33 percent in 2014.

This year’s report finds that:

  • 72 percent of Virginia school divisions meet the minimum connectivity goal of 100 kbps per student, a significant jump from 46 percent at this time last year, and 33 percent in 2014.
  • In 2016, 391,928 Virginia students gained access to a 100 kbps connection for the first time; in total, 862,764 Virginia students received access to additional bandwidth.
  • 58 Virginia school divisions upgraded their broadband connections.

Speaking about the announcement, Governor McAuliffe said, “Access to high-speed internet is an absolute necessity as we build an education system that prepares students with the skills they need to succeed in a new Virginia economy. I am proud of the work this administration has done, in partnership with state and local leaders all over the Commonwealth, to expand connectivity for students, families and businesses. We should not rest until every single Virginia school offers students high-speed access to the internet.

“In June of 2014, we announced a groundbreaking partnership between our office, the Virginia Department of Education, and EducationSuperHighway focused on expanding broadband in more Virginia schools. At that time, only 33 percent of our school divisions met the minimum connectivity goal. Now, just over two years later, that figure stands at 72 percent. This is a tremendous victory for our students, teachers, parents, and economy. More students in Virginia are learning online at faster speeds than ever before. That is crucial to their ability to access the educational opportunities they need and deserve. Even with this positive news however, we recognize there is more work to be done in this ongoing effort to bring high-speed Internet to every Virginia school and every Virginia student. We will use this momentum to continue strengthening our schools and building a new Virginia economy.”

EducationSuperHighway is the leading national non-profit focused on upgrading the Internet access in every public school classroom in America. Virginia’s partnership with EducationSuperHighway has led to connectivity victories in school divisions all across the state. In Appomattox County Schools, the division upgraded to four times the bandwidth at zero additional cost. Roanoke County Public Schools, with 23 campuses to connect, upgraded from a 1 Gbps Internet connection to 10 Gbps, with high-speed fiber connections between buildings. With the help of their robust infrastructure, the division has been able to cultivate partnerships with area non-profits and Virginia Tech to promote “real life” and project-based learning for their students.

Speaking about the progress in Virginia, Evan Marwell, Founder and CEO of EducationSuperHighway remarked, “To go from 33 percent of divisions meeting minimum connectivity standards in 2014, to now 72 percent doing so in 2016, is incredible. That is amazing progress, and it is a credit to the leadership of Governor McAuliffe, the State Department of Education, and all involved in the effort to get more Virginia students online at the fastest speeds. From day one, Governor McAuliffe has recognized how critical this work is to building a stronger economy in Virginia. His mission is clear: grow Virginia’s economy. At EducationSuperHighway our mission is equally clear: increase student connectivity. The two objectives go hand-in-hand, and they are combining to equal a stronger educational system in the Commonwealth, with more opportunities for students and teachers than ever before.”

The complete data for Virginia in the 2016 State of the States report can be found here.

The nationwide 2016 State of the States report can be found here.

 

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