Mayor de Blasio Administration Announces Record Increases In School Internet Capacity

October 17, 2019

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza announced record increases in internet access in schools. Now, more students can take advantage of online resources and tools without interruption, including conducting research and engaging in coding and design programming.

“If we want our kids to be prepared for the 21st century, we must give them 21st-century tools,” said Mayor de Blasio. “Under this administration, we’re ensuring that every school – regardless of zip code – has access to high-speed internet so that our students have everything they need to succeed.”

“Our New York City public school students need access to high-speed internet and WiFi so that they can engage with the newest technologies, learn computer science and robotics, and be prepared for the careers of the future,” said Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza. “Better internet connectivity is foundational to these efforts, and I’m thrilled to see we’re making significant strides towards providing all of our students with the 21st century, high-tech classrooms they deserve.”

Access to technology is essential to prepare today’s students to be 21st-century leaders, and bandwidth is foundational to bringing more technology into schools. Upgraded bandwidth and increased access to technology are essential to advancing equity and the expansion of Equity and Excellence for All initiatives, including Computer Science for All, AP for All, and College Access for All.

Since 2015, the Department of Education has boosted citywide core internet connectivity by 15 times, from 9 Gbps to 140 Gbps. Between Fall 2017 and Summer 2019, the DOE also performed a “fiber infrastructure upgrade” at all of the DOE’s approximately 1,300 school buildings — increasing each school’s circuit capacity from 10 Mbps in 2015 to a minimum of 100 Mbps citywide.

With 100Mbps, schools can support 50 concurrent standard definition video streams, while 10Mbps supported five. 100Mbps can support 1000 devices for general web browsing, while 10Mbps can support 100 devices.

These improvements to citywide and school capacity are necessary for faster Internet and more computers at schools. The City is also updating hardware and software including routers, switchers, and firewalls to ensure schools can take full advantage of the infrastructure improvements. Each school will have a “School Tech Refresh” with hardware and software updates every five years. The Chancellor made the announcement at JHS 259 William McKinley in Bay Ridge.

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Since the start of this administration, the DOE has committed $650 million in capital funding to upgrade technology. This investment includes the ongoing replacement of school-level equipment, including routers, switchers, firewalls, and wireless access points that enable schools to take full advantage of the increased internet capacity. Schools will receive upgraded equipment every five years.

Additionally, through the 2020-24 School Capital Plan, the DOE will invest an additional $750 million in technology, including bandwidth upgrades, with the goal of increasing the total citywide DOE core internet connectivity to 240 Gbps by the end of the 2020-21 school year.

Computer Science for All will bring Computer Science (CS) education to every elementary, middle, and high school by 2025. During the 2018-19 school year, a record of approximately 160,000 students received CS education, a 72 percent increase from 2016-17. To date, Computer Science for All has trained approximately 1,900 teachers across 800 schools in all five boroughs. In the first two years of the initiative, the number of students who took an AP Computer Science exam has quadrupled – 5,190 students compared to only 1,137 students in 2016. New York City had a higher percentage of female, black, and Latino students take an AP Computer Science exam in 2018 than nationwide figures.

Computer Science for All, College Access for All, and AP for All are part of Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza’s Equity and Excellence for All agenda. 3-K for All and Pre-K for All are strengthening foundational skills and instruction earlier; Universal Literacy is working towards ensuring every student is reading on grade level by the end of 2nd grade, and Algebra for All is improving elementary- and middle-school math instruction and ensuring that all 8th graders have access to algebra. Equity and Excellence for All are also offering students more challenging, hands-on, college and career-aligned coursework – Computer Science for All brings 21st-century computer science instruction to every school, and AP for All is giving all high school students access to at least five Advanced Placement courses. Along the way, they are giving students and families additional support through College Access for All, Single Shepherd, and investment in Community Schools.

“All New Yorkers deserve access to reliable, high-speed internet – and that starts with making sure our City’s classrooms are equipped with the cutting edge technology students to need to succeed,” said Interim DoITT Commissioner and CIO Seb Formoso. “I thank Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza for spearheading these critical technology upgrades and look forward to our continued work to bring universal broadband to our City.”

“The education pipelines we are building to college and career prosperity are powered by STEAM, but those pipelines don’t work if they aren’t wired and connected. My administration has focused keenly on this issue, through investing more than $125 million in classroom technology and helping introduce coding in Brooklyn’s schools, particularly in historically underserved communities. As our 2016 school technology report found, such investments are only maximized when schools have sufficient bandwidth to support a high-performing network. I commend the de Blasio administration for its commitment to advancing these investments at the heart of access to technology and possibility in the 21st century,“ said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

“Increasingly, internet access is like water: essential for human life,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “I’m glad that the DOE is addressing the slow speeds and capacities in far too many schools— many identified in a study my office conducted last year– with such massive speed and bandwidth increases. This will help all students, not just those learning computer skills, as many curricula move online.”

Deputy Speaker Catherine Nolan said, “It is so critical that all of our students have access to technology and the opportunity to learn how to use it. Under Speaker Heastie, our Assembly Majority has made this funding a priority, together with capital funds to eliminate trailers and temporary classroom units, to deliver key state funding to supplement the City of New York’s own commitment to this worthwhile goal. Congratulations to Chancellor Carranza on this important achievement.

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“All students should have access to quality technology infrastructure, regardless of their zip code,” said Council Member Mark Treyger, chairman of the Education Committee. “One of my top priorities when I became Chairman of the Education Committee was to ensure that our schools had a reliable technology infrastructure they deserve. During my tenure, I have met with schools and stakeholders to make sure our students have the technology infrastructure they need, especially reliable Internet. Unfortunately, a number of schools lacked the technological capacity to provide 21st-century access to students so I am immensely proud to work with Speaker Corey Johnson and the Administration to make this major investment in technology for our students. Our students deserve access to every learning opportunity possible, and this investment in our schools’ Internet capacity is a great way to help ensure our students are prepared for their futures.”

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