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New network brings lightning-fast speeds

fiber network installationOn Oct. 4 at Barkley-Ruiz Elementary School, students, staff and District administration gathered to celebrate the groundbreaking of a new high-speed fiber network, which will use nearly 80 miles of fiber to connect every single SAISD campus and office facility. Joining in the celebration were UPN Fiber and the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce.

“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,” said Dr. Kenneth J. Thompson, SAISD chief technology officer.

SAISD received a $7 million grant from the Federal Communications Committee’s (FCC) E-rate program to implement its dedicated Wide Area Network (WAN). In addition to the FCC funding, the District was approved for state matching funds for the special construction portion of the project. This means that the District incurs no cost – 95 percent of the construction cost will be paid by E-rate and the state of Texas will pay the remaining 5 percent. 

The District’s WAN will facilitate lightning-fast network and internet speeds at all SAISD campuses for the next one to two decades. Students will benefit from fast and reliable connectivity, enabling even more innovative digital learning opportunities. 

The custom fiber network has unlimited capacity, making it scalable for future needs such as an increase in student population, an increase in the number of facilities, or the future use of new tools that require a much higher bandwidth. The majority of cable being placed will not be used by the District at the inception of the process, but it is available to be tapped as needed based on the amount of data being carried on the network. 

The network will work in conjunction with the wireless infrastructure on individual campuses as the District continues to update systems and technologies over the next few years. 

For those campuses and offices that will have the infrastructure in place to connect to the WAN, such as the 13 schools that are part of the 2016 Bond, the new network will be ready for service in the summer of 2020.


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