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What’s Next: Powering the Needs of Modern Learning Environments


Our purpose at Zayo is to connect what’s next, which means anticipating incoming technological developments in order to continuously deliver value to our customers, such as the growing need for connectivity and digital transformation in the education sector.

Today’s educational institutions depend on Internet connectivity to power everything from learning environments to operational systems. Without it, critical functions at schools would come to a halt. According to research from Funds for Learning, 88% of K-12 respondents estimate their schools will need more broadband within the next three years. Due to the increasing need for digital transformation in the education industry and for schools, Zayo offers examples and helpful tips for institutions.

The Rise of Digital Transformation in Schools and the Education Industry

Connectivity in schools has become even more critical in recent years, thanks to digital transformation. Now, schools deploy digital technologies to improve the digital experience for students and teachers alike.

For instance — despite initially being a solution to enable distance learning — video conferencing solutions, such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams, are regularly used to facilitate conversations among staff and parents and foster hybrid learning opportunities for students. Augmented reality and virtual reality are similarly becoming more popular, simulating 3D environments where they bring geography, biology, and history lessons to life. Even classes like PE and music have found new life in the online landscape through digital innovations such as eSports and interactive video games — both of which require a lot of bandwidth.

Additionally, the proliferation of digital technologies used in classrooms and administrative offices provides more opportunities for cyberattackers to compromise school data. Digital transformation innovations like blockchain can safely store and prevent tampering to sensitive data, only allowing authorized parties to access it. Similarly, DDoS solutions, such as ENA by Zayo’s NetDefender, are also effective against cyberattacks by proactively scanning and analyzing networks for DDoS attacks.

Connectivity ensures these technologies can work without interruption, which is why schools must know about the options available to them, such as E-Rate funding.

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What Educational Institutions Need to Know About E-Rate Funding

E-Rate funding, issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), provides discounts of up to 90% to eligible K-12 schools to obtain affordable internet access. This funding helps cover products and services in two categories:

  • Category 1 includes telecommunications, telecommunications services and internet access
  • Category 2 includes internal connections, basic maintenance of internal connections and managed internal broadband connections, such as Wi-Fi and local area network (LAN)/wide area network (WAN).

The current E-Rate funding cycle began on July 1 and will end on June 30, 2023. Funding amounts depend on the number of students a school has and the number of students who receive free or reduced lunch.

Powering the Needs of Modern Learning Environments

How Zayo Can Help with Digital Innovation in Education, Teaching, and Learning

At Zayo, we’re dedicated to connecting our customers to what’s next not only through our future-ready network but also investment in our services. Through our recent acquisition of Education Networks of America (ENA), we’re furthering our efforts to provide greater connectivity and services to schools, libraries, and other public sector customers across the U.S., especially those that receive E-Rate funding.

ENA by Zayo is passionate about providing services to K-12 school districts that participate in the federally-funded E-Rate program. Taking advantage of programs like E-Rate can help schools achieve greater access to quality and reliable Internet infrastructure, enabling the growth of digital tools and resources for students and teachers.