Tim Berners-Lee, the British scientist credited with the creation of the Internet, insists that access to the World Wide Web should be recognized as a basic human right. Using that logic, if education is, as the UN states, "a passport to human development," then Internet access is a right that should be extended to all schools. In America, that goal has largely been achieved.
Currently, 99 percent of America's K-12 public schools and libraries are somehow connected to the web, in large part thanks to the Federal Communications Commission's congressionally mandated "E-Rate" program, which went into effect in 1998.
However, while that progress deserves merit, merely having some sort of Internet connection is an outdated standard. After all, that 99-percent statistic was achieved in 2006. Technology is integral to the modern learning experience, whether it’s as simple as a basic wi-i or as advanced as the artificially intelligent software that's replacing textbooks. In today's schools, having a dial-up connection is far from sufficient when measuring adaptation to modern times.
In June 2013, President Obama announced his ConnectED initiative, which aims to equip practically every school in the country with a high-speed broadband connection within five years. Late last year the FCC approved an additional $1.5 billion in funding for the E-Rate program, bringing its total annual budget to $3.9 billion. According to the administration, a typical school has about the same connection speed as the average American home but serves about 200 times as many users. Some schools even have to ration out Internet time to students.