Traffic Is Booming for Online Education Providers. But So Are Costs.

As schools and colleges shutter across the world, Khan Academy has seen unprecedented web traffic to its online instructional videos and exercises. Before COVID-19 struck, the site saw about 18 million users each month. In recent weeks, “we’ve seen traffic grow two-and-a-half to three times the normal,” says Khan in an interview. He anticipates that could grow to seven-folds in the coming months. On top of that, users are spending twice as long on the site as they usually would.All that web usage adds up—and it’s one of the main concerns he shared in a recent fundraiser video. In a typical year, he tells EdSurge, server costs alone would run up to $7 million. If traffic continues to grow at current rates, Khan estimates the bill could jump to more than $20 million. Fortunately for him, Khan has friends in high places. Already, in response to its recent call for donations, Khan Academy has received at least $3 million in grants from AT&T, Bank of America, Google.org’s Distance Learning Fund and Norvartis to support its efforts. (Khan Academy, as it turns out, runs on Google Cloud.)

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