$9 Million San Antonio Fiber Project to Come at No Cost to the District
- By Dian Schaffhauser
San Antonio Independent School District in Texas recently broke ground on the site where a new fiber network will connect every single campus and office facility with almost 80 miles of cabling. The district received $7 million in funding through the federal E-rate program to implement the dedicated wide area network.
San Antonio ISD was also approved for state matching funds for the special construction portion of the project. As a result, E-rate will cover 95 percent of the construction cost, and the state will pay the remaining 5 percent; the district will incur no cost
Kenneth Thompson, the district's chief technology officer, projected that the deployment will sustain the schools for one to two decades, working in conjunction with the wireless infrastructure already in place or to be upgraded on individual campuses. "The deployment of the network is another huge piece of the district's strategy plan to ensure we are providing an infrastructure that allows for equity and equality in the instructional opportunities for all of our students," he said in a statement.
The district said that for those campuses and offices that will have the infrastructure in place to connect to the WAN, the new network will be ready for service in summer 2020.
In other fiber news, two small districts have recently announced that they're finally getting access to extra-high-speed networking.
Tiny Calhoun County in Illinois received support from the Federal Communications Commission and the Illinois State Board of Education to bring connectivity to two school districts. Both Calhoun District 40 and Brussels Community Unit School District 42 expect to have fiber optic connectivity as part of a broader effort by Illinois Electric Cooperative to bring fiber service to the county at large. Construction is already underway, and the network is scheduled to be operational by spring for the county, according to local reporting.
Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @schaffhauser.