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Ethernet technology coming to schools

Recently, bandwidth has been a concern for some school districts. The state’s Bureau of Information and Telecommunications and the Department of Education have been working on a solution.

The state will be phasing out two network connectivity technologies in favor of Ethernet technology. “Ethernet offers both higher speed and lower cost, so it’s a positive solution all around,” said Wade Pogany, director of the Department of Education’s Office of Technology and Assessment Systems.

Implementation of Ethernet connectivity will involve wiring and construction at each school district. Because of that, it will be a long-term project.

Construction costs for the project are being funded through several grants awarded as part of the federal government broadband initiative. Terms of the grant require that savings realized as a result of implementing the new technology be used to fund additional improvements. “So, we’ve got to accumulate some savings at a few locations before we move on to making the improvements at the next locations,” said Pat Snow, network technologies manager with BIT.

Construction is expected to begin at a handful of districts this spring, dependent upon weather.

BIT will look at two main criteria when evaluating which districts will receive the new technology first:

1) Low cost for necessary construction
2) High need in terms of bandwidth

BIT has been in contact with technology directors across the state to alert them of this process. Superintendents and principals: Please talk with your technology directors for initial information.