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Wednesday, 07 October 2015 15:58

TUSD Board Approves Wireless Internet Project Costing About $2.9 Million

Written by  Eric Escalante
TUSD Board Approves Wireless Internet Project Costing About $2.9 Million Eric Escalante/TurlockCityNews.com
The Turlock Unified School District Board of Trustees approved the Wireless/Fiber proposal through a unanimous vote on Tuesday evening. The approval allows the project to begin the design phase, create timetables, and develop Request for Proposals for Board approval.

The January 2014 audit results/recommendations report presented options such as upgrades to the Wide Area Network to allow for future 10 Gb/s connectivity, an upgrade to switches with “Power over Ethernet” capability, an increase to 1 Gb/s in internet connectivity, an upgrade to fiber connections and ethernet cabling connections, and the addition of a centrally-managed wireless network.

Infrastructure upgrades to the district were finished by this summer. The upgrade saw the switches in main data frames and intermediate data frames upgraded to allow the use of wireless and fiber connections.
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Director of Technology and Data Systems Jason Brem noted, “We needed the infrastructure in place in order to go to wireless to support more one-to-one and more of the technology that we want.”

The total cost of the Wireless/Fiber Proposal is estimated to be $2,893,537.05. The total amount the district is able to submit for reimbursement via eRate is $977,000 with a possibility of an amount up to $1.14 million.

The eRate reimbursement is also referred to as the Schools and Libraries program, provided by the Universal Service Administrative Company. The program provides discounts of up to 90 percent for schools and libraries to make internet access and telecommunications affordable. According to the USAC, “The program participants must carry out a competitive bidding process to select the most cost-effective companies to provide the goods and/or services requested… Discounts for support depend on the level of poverty and the urban/rural status of the population served and range from 20 percent to 90 percent of the costs of eligible services.”
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In accordance with Brem’s presentation, the total “out-of-pocket” cost is estimated to be $1,952,386.58 to $2,119,048.56.

Infinity Communications is proposed to handle the design and construction management. The project would still have to be approved to go out for bid.

“The target for wireless implementation is this time 2016,” said Brem.

The Board voted unanimously 5-0 to approve the proposal. Board Trustee Barney Gordon was absent for this meeting and vote.
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