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Dallas ISD Builds Out with Fiber Optic Network

Dallas Independent School District has signed with a national company to build a major wide area network (WAN) that will connect its facilities and increase data communications capacity. The Texas district, which had 225 schools in 2010-2011, chose Unite Private Networks in a "long term agreement" to build a nearly 300 mile fiber-optic network. The upgrade will provide up to 10 gigabit capacity (per site) to 281 district facilities. The company reported it expects initial cabling to be completed in 20 months.

The 2011-2012 budget for the district allocates about $540,000 in capital outlay for telecom/WAN connectivity, voice over IP gateways, cell phone repeaters, and new WAN switches.

According to Gray Salada, executive director of Information & Technology Services, the network is crucial to help modernize the district's technology infrastructure to accommodate changes in classroom instructional practices. "The new network will provide students and teachers the flexibility and capacity to access digital resources across the globe facilitating research, communications, and collaboration as well as supporting online curriculum and assessments."

The new WAN will be "hundreds of times faster" than the district's current network, the vendor said in a statement, and will enable the district to continue expanding use of data communications in the future.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.