Vermont School Union Achieves 1 Gbps with Sovernet

  • Sovernet Communications
BELLOWS FALLS, VT — Sovernet Communications and the Windsor Southeast Supervisory Union (WSESU) jointly announced that the geographically dispersed K-12 school system in southeastern Vermont has upgraded its data network to 1 Gbps of broadband over fiber. Also called Gig-E, the connection delivers 1,000 Mbps of Internet bandwidth to the four village and town school districts that comprise the union.

“We’ve been part of Sovernet’s fiber network since 2013, when we immediately noticed a jump in speed and reliability that enabled us to create a wireless network to support our students’ one-to-one computers,” said Larry Dougher, chief information officer at WSESU. “As the number of one-to-one devices jumped by 1,000 percent in just two years, our partners at Sovernet helped us to futureproof our network by seamlessly scaling us to 1 Gig.”

The supervisory union includes schools in more urban areas, such as downtown Windsor, and some in rural locations, including the Albert Bridge School and Hartland Elementary. School officials jumped at the chance for its schools and administrative offices to become community anchor institutions served by the state-of-the-art fiber network that was partially funded by a federal broadband stimulus grant, and more than $12 million from a Sovernet investment. Sovernet will also expand the WSESU network to the central office in Windsor’s downtown area later this year.

Connection Equity Across All Schools
“One of the most important considerations for us was equity across the many schools under our care,” said Dougher. “It was imperative early on that all of our students be served equally by a rigorous fiber connection, regardless of whether those schools were in an urban or rural setting.”

In addition to supporting the exponential expansion of WSESU’s one-to-one computer initiative, the high-capacity bandwidth from Sovernet supports expanded use of video conferencing in the classroom and resulted in a very successful trial of the new statewide online school testing platform.

Supporting the Transition to Mandatory Online Student Testing
“As Vermont transitions to mandatory online student testing through Smarter Balanced Assessments, or SBAC, it’s more important than ever that each and every classroom at all of our schools is connected to high capacity bandwidth,” said WSESU’s Larry Dougher. “We recently tested the new SBAC with all of our students online at the same time and were excited about the results. We are satisfied that we are leveraging bandwidth to the highest degree possible to help each of our students to succeed.”

Gregg Noble, Sovernet’s Business Development Manager, who has overseen the company’s 300+ anchor institutions connected to the fiber network, is equally enthusiastic about the partnership and its outcomes. “It’s the progressive customers like WSESU that continually push our team to deliver great service plans on the network,” Noble said. “Initiatives like their one-to-one program combined with a 1 Gig connection to the Internet are providing our children the 21st-century tools they will need to thrive in Vermont in the years to come.”

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