Broadband availability across U.S. school districts

The Center on Rural Innovation (CORI) uses data to highlight both the gaps and opportunities across rural communities. One of these gaps was affirmed in the immediate wake of the COVID-19 pandemic: household access to high-speed internet.

The rush to close schools across the country meant that some children were especially disadvantaged. As urban and suburban schools moved to virtual learning, their rural counterparts faced unique learning obstacles. In rural districts, students were quite literally disconnected from their schools because the infrastructure in their communities could not support virtual learning.

The broadband availability across U.S. school districts map illustrates how infrastructure limitations disproportionately impact students in rural communities. This interactive map shows broadband availability across America’s school districts, with broadband defined as internet service that:

  • Has download speeds of at least 25 Mbps
  • Has upload speeds of at least 3 Mbps
  • Is delivered by a fixed ground based system

This definition is based on Federal Communications Commission (FCC) benchmarks for broadband. To develop the map, we assumed that these are the bare minimum speed and reliability requirements for a household engaging in long-term remote work and learning. (Note: we do not count mobile internet or satellite internet as these services do not consistently offer the speed or reliability needed for extended remote work.)

Read more about our methods for compiling and visualizing broadband access here.

Use this map to:

  • Better understand the urban/rural digital divide
  • Determine where the broadband infrastructure gap is most pronounced
  • Explore broadband availability by different variables, including community type and school district

About our work

The Center on Rural Innovation builds data-driven maps, tools, and resources that highlight rural America’s opportunities and challenges. To learn more about our work, visit our data and mapping page.

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