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Pickens County schools getting faster internet

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The School District of Pickens County has entered into a multi-year agreement with Conterra Networks to deploy an all fiber optical network to support the data, video, and voice requirements of its schools.

A faster network is set for completion in the summer of 2019, according to a news release.

“We are thrilled we are able to give our students a network that is up to 100 times faster than our existing network without spending additional dollars,” said Danny Merck, School District of Pickens County superintendent, in the release. “By rethinking how we spend existing funds and taking advantage of E-rate, we are bringing money Pickens’ residents pay in their phone bills back to the county’s students.” 

In technical terms, the fiber optical network will provide 10 gigabit connectivity to each location when completed and is scalable to 100 gigabits with no additional construction. Currently the district has 100 megabits at most elementary schools, 500 megabits at most middle schools and one gigabit at most high schools, the release said.

The project is funded in large part by the Federal Communications Commission E-rate program through telephone fees. The primary goal of E-rate is to ensure affordable access to high-speed broadband in schools and libraries. The remaining funds will come from existing district dollars.  Merck said the district is allocating money spent on the existing network toward the project.

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