PITTSBORO — After working with three separate Internet providers over recent years, Chatham County Schools is working toward just one, with the possibility of shaping the county’s wi-fi …
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PITTSBORO — After working with three separate Internet providers over recent years, Chatham County Schools is working toward just one, with the possibility of shaping the county’s wi-fi future.
The Chatham County Board of Education approved a contract earlier this month with Charlotte-based Conterra Ultimate Broadband to lay 88 miles of fiber optic broadband throughout the county, connecting to all of the district’s 19 current locations and two future spots.
Keith Medlin, Chatham County Schools’ director of technology and communications, said at the meeting it would provide better service for the schools and that the county government may be able to take advantage too.
“This gives us a long-term contract and speeds that won’t have prices that change,” Medlin said. “This is a core part of the first step we can take to help attract a vendor to lay this much fiber within Chatham County. It will give the county an opportunity to do a separate negotiation.”
County Manager Dan LaMontagne said the county is anticipating a few facilities being connected to the fiber, and sees the whole line as infrastructure laid for a service provider in the future.
The fiber line will cost $3,790,059, but the school district will pay nothing. The state will cover 10 percent of the cost and the federal government another 10 percent, with the final 80 percent handled by a discount from the county’s relationship with E-Rate. The program provides discounts to schools and libraries throughout the country to obtain Internet access.
The district’s budget will be affected by a monthly $7,056 charge for the services, requiring no extra funds.
According to the agenda item, “the district has a transition plan for all schools to move to the Conterra managed network as fiber builds are completed.”
The contract has to be approved by the board’s attorney before it is finalized.