Networking & Wireless

Washington, Oregon Districts Add Fiber Networks

Pasco School District in Washington state is replacing its existing one-gigabit Internet service with a 20-gigabit fiber optic network to provide ultra-high speed Internet service to its 24 school district facilities.

The district is funding the network upgrade with help from the Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) E-rate program, which was created to help schools and libraries implement Internet access. Pasco School District selected Fatbeam as its service provider because the company provides competitive options for smaller markets.

"Markets under 150,000 in population are frequently lacking competitive options for fiber based services," said Greg Green, president of Fatbeam, the company that is implementing the network. Once Fatbeam builds a fiber optic network for a school district, it extends the service to local hospitals, banks, government offices and other organizations in the community, including telecom and Internet carriers.

Fatbeam is currently in the process of engineering and designing Pasco's 30-mile fiber optic network, which dedicates four fibers into each district facility to provide redundancy and resiliency. The network is expected to be in place by June 2016, when the agreement between Pasco School District and Fatbeam takes effect. According to information from Fatbeam, the upgrade will reduce the district's cost-per-megabit by as much as 94 percent.

In related news, Bend School District in Oregon has also signed a long-term agreement with Fatbeam to build a 20-gigabit lit fiber optic network to provide the district's 23 facilities with ultra-high speed Internet service.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at [email protected].