And while some teachers are resistant to assigning homework that requires broadband internet connectivity, the requirement is almost unstoppable at this point. In 2015, Pew Research published research that found five million school-aged children did not have access to broadband internet. However, the number of kids with internet access at home has also been increasing over the past several years due to subsidization improvements via a new program called Lifeline.
Our research into current household income versus broadband internet pricing has found that if the Lifeline program is rolled back, broadband internet connectivity will decrease among lower income families by an estimated 400,000-600,000, increasing the number of school children who won’t have access to the internet at home.
31% of households with school children, with incomes below $50,000, do not currently have broadband internet, minority homes are the most negatively affected.
This number will likely jump to 37-38% of households with school children, with incomes below $50,000, who will not have broadband internet.
An estimated 400,000-600,000 school children could LOSE broadband internet access because of this change.
With internet connectivity becoming practically a requirement for school kids to be successful in the classroom, the FCC needs to tread carefully here. It should not be treated as a “nice to have” for things like streaming Netflix or advertisements for toys on YouTube. High speed internet access, if limited in its national availability and affordability, will create a larger divide between high-income and low-income household school performance.
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