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SAN JOSE, CA –The Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) has started construction of a network of Dark Fiber connecting Silicon Valley school districts. The project is funded in part through the Universal Service Administration Company (USAC) and the federal E-rate program which provides discounted telecommunications, Internet access, and internal connections to eligible schools and libraries.
"This is an exciting moment for county schools as the project provides increased internet bandwidth for schools and faster, more reliable internet access to learning resources for students," said Jon R. Gundry, County Superintendent of Schools. "I am pleased our Technology Services Branch partnered with school districts on the project proposal to the USAC and leverage resources to benefit students and schools."
The project will connect nearly all school districts in Silicon Valley to the SCCOE data center using Dark Fiber. Dark Fiber refers to unused fiber-optic cable installed by companies in order to avoid costs of having to do it again when there is an additional need for fiber-optic cable.
The Dark Fiber network will enable Santa Clara County school districts to connect to the internet at speeds limited only by the equipment they decide to use, making the process of increasing bandwidths simpler and more cost effective. The design of the project will also provide a measure of resiliency, in case there are cuts or disruption to the fiber-optic cabling in certain portions of the network.
"Santa Clara Unified School District is pleased that the County Office of Education is moving forward with their Dark Fiber buildout. We are beginning a District wide one-to-one Chromebook rollout, providing thousands of new devices for our students. We will definitely need the additional bandwidth that the fiber will deliver," said Joe Zeligs, Santa Clara Unified School District Instructional Technology Director.
In applying for funding, the SCCOE formed an E-rate Consortium for the project and received approval last month. The County Office of Education began working with its vendors to start construction in June, and the project is expected to be completed by November 2018.
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