Connectivity Speeds Waiver Criteria

To ensure that districts maximize the return on their investment in education technology and devices, Smart Schools Bond Act funds used for technology infrastructure investments must increase the number of school buildings that meet or exceed the minimum speed standard of 100 Mbps per 1,000 students and staff within 12 months.

However, the Smart Schools Review Board has limited discretion to exempt districts from this requirement and/or extend the timeframe for compliance.
Potential basis for exemptions include, but are not limited to:

1.) Financial Hardship: A district’s broadband installation or connection costs are prohibitively expensive and exceed a district’s allocation of Smart Schools funds (NOTE: A district must provide documentation of service provider price quotes to the Review Board.)

2.) Impossibility: A district may be unable to identify a broadband provider willing or able to provide service at these speeds (NOTE: A district must first attempt and fail to procure such service.)

3.) Unnecessary Speeds: A district has a very small or large student body or otherwise demonstrates limited demand for broadband and bandwidth. (NOTE: A district must make a detailed showing of current and estimated future needs. Districts with large numbers of students may be able to demonstrate that the meet the requirement by using an oversubscription analysis described below.)

A district requesting a waiver must demonstrate that it has made a good faith effort to meet this minimum speed standard and detail all efforts made to meet such requirement. The Review Board will consider each waiver request and may refer districts to partner organizations for assistance in meeting such standard as a prerequisite or substitute for granting such waiver or extension of time to meet the standard.

Districts may submit their waiver application through (when available) and are encouraged to consult with their Technology staff and Regional Information Centers when crafting their submission.

*Oversubscription Ratio Example for Large Districts*

1 – 5 schools: No oversubscription

6 – 15 schools: 2:1 oversubscription

16 – 50 schools: 3:1 oversubscription

51+ schools: 4:1 oversubscription

Given that the standard for Internet Access is 100Mbps / 1,000 students (or 100Kbps per student):

If a district has 5,000 students and 10 schools it would need: 250Mbps of Internet Access 

[(5,000 students * 100Kbps / student) / 2 oversubscription ratio = 250 Mbps]

If a district has 15,000 students and 25 schools it would need: 500Mbps of Internet Access 

[15,000 students * 100Kbps / student) / 3 oversubscription ratio = 500 Mbps]

[1] Connectivity Speeds Waiver Criteria, New York State Education Department, [July 7, 2015]. Viewed July 16, 2015.