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DIS Leadership Provides K-12 Broadband Update at Guy Fenter Education Service Cooperative Meeting

Friday, Sep 18, 2015

BRANCH, Ark. - Mark Myers, DIS director, and Don McDaniel, DIS enterprise network services director, provided local school district superintendents an update on the improved Arkansas Public School Computer Network (APSCN) project at a meeting at the Western Arkansas Educational Cooperative Friday afternoon.

Myers and McDaniel addressed the progress of the project to upgrade the APSCN to bandwidth speeds of 40 times the current state network and the status of the conversion of schools within the cooperative area, as well as issues related to E-rate funding for the improved network. Attendees were also briefed on critical information regarding network security requirements.

“This is an exciting time for the education and technology communities within the state,” said Myers. “DIS is putting forth every effort to keep our state educators informed of the progress of this milestone technology project to improve our public school network. It was a pleasure to speak with superintendents in the western region of the state.” 

The improved APSCN will provide state school districts with 200 kilobits per second/per user of E-rate eligible, high-speed broadband delivered over fiber optic cable, funded by the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE). The provision of the upgraded network will be accomplished within ADE’s existing $13 million budget for broadband and will be a cost effective solution maximizing the impact of funds that the state will be eligible to receive through the E-rate program. With the completion of the improved network, Arkansas will lead the nation in meeting federal target levels for Internet access. 

The project to improve the APSCN officially kicked off with the conversion of the Fort Smith School District to the upgraded network Wednesday, July 15, 2015. The project is scheduled to be complete by July 2017 with the majority of Arkansas school districts migrated to the improved network within the 2015-2016 school year.

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