Telecommunications & Networking | News

New Jersey District Boosts Bandwidth for Classroom Instruction

Glen Rock Public Schools in New Jersey has upgraded its telecommunications network in an effort to improve performance and functionality while cutting costs.

GRPS contracted with Optimum Lightpath, which specializes in Ethernet-based communications networks for businesses and institutions in the New York metropolitan area and throughout New Jersey, to overhaul its existing network with a 100 megabit, fiber-based bundle that gives the district 30 times its previous bandwidth for dramatically faster Internet speeds, as well as a phone system that offers long distance and voice-over Internet protocol (VoIP) capabilities for a flat monthly rate.

"Technology is extremely important to our school district because we realize the tremendous impact that it can have on improving education opportunities," said Tom O'Gara, GRPS network administrator and engineer. "Over time, we got to a point where participation in emerging educational programs and access to general online resources were limited because our network simply couldn't support it. We knew it was time for a change."

Kathy Regan, GRPS director of curriculum and instruction, noted the district's newly realized flexibility in integrating technology into the curriculum. She explained, "We're currently evaluating opportunities for high-definition video conferencing programs that let students take virtual field trips, distance learning and advanced course management systems for faculty. Soon we'll even be able to add new course options. And it's largely a result of having a high-performing network that can support our ambitions."

"We've been extremely happy with the Optimum Lightpath service," said O'Gara. "All install timelines were met, the transition was smooth and we've found that we have access to high quality customer support when we need it. In one case, we even received a proactive call when [the company] realized that we'd had a power outage. Today, we have an excellent service at an excellent value, and best of all, no headaches. So we can focus on making education the best it can be for students and teachers."

The district, located approximately 18 miles northwest of New York, enrolls about 2,500 students and employs 300 staff in six schools.

New Jersey's Howell Township School District and Denville Township Schools, as well as New York's Brooklyn Law School, have also reported significant improvements and savings resulting from recent network upgrades performed by the company.

About the Author

Scott Aronowitz is a freelance writer based in Las Vegas. He has covered the technology, advertising, and entertainment sectors for seven years. He can be reached here.