Utah Education Network Connects Rural and Urban Schools

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The Utah Education Network, a non-profit school consortium, has teamed up with Qwest Communications to deliver high-speed network services to Utah schools. The "multi-year, multimillion-dollar agreement" will connect 21 of Utah's 40 school districts to Qwest's GeoMax fiber-optic network.

The project is part of a plan to help equalize high-speed access among rural and urban schools and bring additional services to teachers and students, including distance learning, streaming media, online professional development courses, online testing, and voice and data services. Qwest is providing 1 Gbps bandwidth over a 10 Gbps backbone to "most" K-12 schools.

"The Utah Education Network didn't just level the playing field for Utah's rural and urban school districts, it redefined it," said Jim Stewart, technology director for the Utah Education Network, in a prepared statement. "Qwest technology and our consortium partners put learning tools into the hands of students and teachers, regardless of location, while helping education and state agencies make the most of their resources in difficult times."

"In a recent strategic planning session with partners throughout the state, our stakeholders affirmed that sustaining and improving our high speed data network is the number one priority for UEN," said Michael Petersen, UEN executive director. "Qwest and our unique consortium of partnerships put that goal within our reach."

According to Qwest, 300 out of 450 sites have already been connected through the program, including elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and administrative offices. Qwest revealed that 60 percent of UEN's data network is funded through E-Rate, with the remainder of the funding coming from the state.

The Utah Education Network is a public education consortium serving both K-12 and higher education, including the Utah State Office of Education and the Utah System of Higher Education (10 universities and colleges), as well as individual schools districts, the Utah Library System, and the Utah Electronic High School.

About the Author

David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. He can now be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THEJournalDave (K-12) or http://twitter.com/CampusTechDave (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192.

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