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Bolstering Broadband in the U.S.

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As we ask ourselves questions about social networking, mobile technologies, online learning, and other emerging technological concerns, it's important to remember that not all school districts in this country are all that far along technologically. In fact, many schools, as well as businesses and homes, are still struggling to secure stable, high-speed broadband connections, as this report, released by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, reminds us.

The report calls for a renewed focus on getting all Americans hooked up to high-speed broadband Internet. The number of Americans connected to broadband has increased dramatically since the beginning of the decade, but the U.S. still lags behind countries like Japan and South Korea in terms of use of the Internet as well as the speed of Internet connections. Worth noting is the fact that $7.2 billion was set aside to bolster broadband services in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which the report calls "relatively limited funds."

To tap into the potential that the Internet provides—such as video-streaming and conferencing, faster file-transfers from one computer to the next, and simultaneous usage of many bandwidth-heavy applications and devices—policymakers and leaders will first need to look into expanding the U.S. broadband network, says the report.

To read the whole report, click here.

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Close to 100% of schools already have broadband access to Internet (see http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=46 ). Few would argue with a straight face that it meaningfully improved education in K-12 schools. Now some argue that we need to raise the bandwidth by 10x (or 100x, or 1000x) to tap yet another promise of educational salvation hiding in "video streaming", "faster file-transfers", or "conferencing." The fact that South Korea and Japan may have it--and that they typically beat us on international comparisons--should not sway anyone. They also beat us before broadband at their schools.

We don't blindly accept anymore tobacco research coming out of Lorillard and Philip-Morris. How is this any different?

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