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Arkansas Becomes National Leader in School Bandwidth After Governor Prioritizes Upgrade, Education Report Says

By Danny Watson, 10/2/18 7:08 PM

LITTLE ROCK – The new Arkansas Public School Computer Network (APSCN) now has the capacity to provide internet service at a rate of 1 Megabit per second (1 Mbps) per user to 98 percent of all public schools in the state—more than any other state, according to the 2018 State of the States report from EducationSuperHighway released today.

“In Arkansas, our students are developing 21st century skills in the classroom to succeed in tomorrow’s workforce,” said Governor Asa Hutchinson. “This requires high-speed Internet access in every school – which is why we upgraded the Arkansas Public School Computer Network and can now provide 1 Mbps per student to 98% of school districts.”

According to the report:

While every state has been a part of the progress to date, as leaders think about their paths forward, three states have made particularly dramatic progress in upgrading the Internet access, broadband infrastructure, and Wi-Fi in their schools. Arkansas has led the nation to 1 Mbps per student of Internet access in 98% of its school districts.

The report notes that in 2014, APSCN, a once “state-of-the-art K-12 broadband vehicle,” had become antiquated. The outdated copper technology the network used to connect schools was providing only a paltry 5 kbps per student across the entire state. The report continues:

When Governor Asa Hutchinson took office in 2015, he immediately recognized the need to provide sufficient and equitable access to all of the schools in the state. …After giving some consideration to reaching the FCC’s short-term goal of 100 kbps per student, Arkansas decided to be bolder with its intentions: it committed to delivering twice as much bandwidth to every student in the state, or a 40x increase in the network’s previous capabilities. A coalition of 21 service providers in the state answered the call when the network was bid out, and the final outcome exceeded expectations once again: all of the old copper connections were replaced with fiber, and today 98% of Arkansas’ school districts have Internet connections that can deliver 1 Mbps per student.

Arkansas is highlighted in the report’s “Future Needs” section, HERE<https://t.e2ma.net/click/ppodne/d0onv1/hn1bmsc>, as well as on pages 18 and 24 of the full report, HERE<https://t.e2ma.net/click/ppodne/d0onv1/xf2bmsc>.