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Connectivity Resources

There are a variety of resources -- national, state, and local -- that can assist districts in enhancing Internet connectivity and meeting the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) current Internet Connectivity Speed Standard of 100 Mbps per 1000 students increasing to the goal of 1 Gbps per 1000 students. These resources are both financial and technical.  

  • The Smart Schools Bond Act, approved by New York State voters in 2014, authorized the issuance of $2 billion of general obligation bonds to finance improved educational technology and infrastructure to enhance learning and opportunity for students throughout the State. It provides funding for district technology and community connectivity projects.
  • E-Rate provides eligible schools and libraries with discounts on telecommunication and Internet access equipment. New York State’s 2017 funding allocation is almost $31 million.
  • The Ed Tech Funding Matrix of Office of Educational Design and Technology of NYSED has additional possible funding sources for districts.
  • Regional Information Centers (RICs) provide a wide range of technology services to school districts. There are 12 RICs in New York state, which are organized under the Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES). By regionalizing services, the RICs make a wide range of technology services available to school districts. 
  • The 37 BOCES provide many services to their constituent districts that the districts might not be able to otherwise afford, including professional development and instructional technology.
  • The New York State Broadband Program Office (BPO) is working to ensure universal broadband deployment throughout New York State. It is administering a $500 million grant program to deliver high-speed Internet access to unserved and underserved areas of the State. The goal of this multi-year program, is to provide statewide broadband access by the end of 2018. 
  • Building Technology Infrastructure for Learning is a K-12 school infrastructure guide produced by the Office of Educational Technology of the US Department of Education. It is designed to provide practical, actionable information to help school and district leaders navigate the many decisions required to build a technology infrastructure that supports digital learning.  
  • The Education Superhighway, a nonprofit national organization, provides a variety of technical assistance to districts so they can upgrade Internet access in all their classrooms.