Up, up and away: bandwidth demand continues to increase

Bandwidth utilization in Missouri K-12 public schools has increased at a 30% annual pace over the past three years. Along with this rate of growth comes the question, “How are Missouri K-12 public schools utilizing their MOREnet provided bandwidth?”

To answer this question, MOREnet issued in the spring of 2007 a Bandwidth Utilization Survey. The purpose of this survey was twofold: it allowed MOREnet to anticipate the overall bandwidth needs of its K-12 members for the 2007-08 school year and it encouraged districts to examine their bandwidth utilization needs to determine if additional bandwidth would be necessary. Below is a summary of the survey results.

Online (web-based) curriculum is used in 88 percent of respondents’ districts, making it the most often-cited, bandwidth-dependent resource among the 108 responses. Other bandwidth-dependent applications/resources currently used in schools included streaming media (PowerMedia Plus and unitedstreaming, 34.3 percent) and Online Resources (online encyclopedias, 47 percent).

There are many areas where districts are planning to expand their bandwidth utilization. Streaming media resources such as PowerMedia Plus and United Streaming will be increased or added in over 60 percent of the school districts that responded to the survey. Other increases in bandwidth utilization are attributed to new computers and buildings being added to the district’s network (33 percent). The use of IP-based videoconferencing (H.323) will be added or increased in 35 percent of the responding school districts. A relatively new up and coming resource is course hosting (Blackboard, Moodle, etc.) with 20 percent of the survey respondents indicating they would provide online course hosting in their districts.

While we continue to see a significant increase in bandwidth utilization, it is quite exciting to see the adoption of these new applications and resources in the delivery of education to the students of Missouri. With the rate of change occurring so quickly, it will be very interesting to see how things will look ten years from now.

MOREnet continues to work with school districts in meeting their bandwidth needs. If you feel your district need additional bandwidth, please contact me to discuss your utilization and upgrade options.

Eric Nicklas
K-12 TNP Program Manager
(573) 882-9785

Eric Nicklas | Friday, October 19, 2007 | |


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