Increased Web speed is in works

Richmond County School Board approves 'air fiber' contract

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Richmond County schools are looking to the sky, and "air fiber," to improve their Internet speeds by the 2011-12 school year.

Media assistant Priscilla Palmer uses a computer in the library at Garrett Elementary. The fiber-optic network will allow for greater use of multimedia in Richmond County classrooms.   Zach Boyden-Holmes/staff
Zach Boyden-Holmes/staff
Media assistant Priscilla Palmer uses a computer in the library at Garrett Elementary. The fiber-optic network will allow for greater use of multimedia in Richmond County classrooms.

"We'll build our own fiber-optic network," system technology specialist Dean Dibling said. "They're going to string it on telephone poles."

A $10-million, 10-year contract for the work was recently approved by the school board.

Officials say 80 percent of the work will be paid for through the E-Rate fund, which is supplied through a charge on telephone bills. It's made available for schools based on their eligible free and reduced lunch percentage -- which is 72 percent in Richmond County.

The contract is for 10 years because the school system won't own the line but will lease it for that amount of time. Work is expected to start in the fall and could be finished by July 2011.

School system officials said a separate fiber line in the network could be offered to the city of Augusta, allowing high-speed access to underserved areas.

County Information Technology Director Tameka Allen said discussions have occurred and a partnership with the school system is being considered, but no decision has been made because details are still being worked out.

The new network, which would probably share some existing telephone poles, would provide a one-gigabyte fiber-optic line to all county schools and would replace the system's outdated T-1 lines, found in many elementary schools.

A T-1 line, Dibling said, provides 1.5 megabytes a second -- great 10 years ago but "terrible now."

Dibling said bandwidth is an ongoing problem in many school media centers, particularly in elementary schools as they incorporate multimedia offerings.

Leslie Olig, the media center specialist for Garrett and National Hills elementary schools, knows the difficulties all too well.

"The teachers want to do video streaming, and they can clog up a system," she said. "It can cause the whole school to run slow."

She said teachers are excited about the possibility of faster connections and greater bandwidth.

Dibling said the school system has already provided an in-ground Ethernet fiber-optics connection to all high schools and middle schools, and 12 of the county's 35 elementary schools will get that faster hookup by the end of this school year.

The Ethernet connection allows a burst of up to 100 megabytes per second, but it will be replaced by the much faster "air fiber" network.

Though officials have no exact figures, Dibling said constructing a fiber-optics network in the air is much cheaper and quicker than burying it in the ground.

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disssman
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disssman 04/18/10 - 07:30 am
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Heck the schools have no

Heck the schools have no policys about what teachers must post anyway so why the increase? What a waste of money. Lets see. Do they have enough monitors in Garrett for all the syudents on each students desk? If not, what streaming video do they need? I know that Crosscreek didn't buy the Math software for the 10th grade (they only bought the question books), and they don't have enough computers for each student. I will be glad when we get someone in charge who knows what they are doing. And I hope that persons background is something more than a middle school health teacher and coaching positions.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 04/18/10 - 07:38 am
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Why doesn't the author of

Why doesn't the author of this piece use the term "above ground optic fiber network" instead of the confusing and perhaps misleading term "air fiber"? From what I gather "air fiber" only means fiber optic cable that is strung above ground instead of being buried. That is a pretty minor distinction to justify the use of the term "air fiber" which sounds revolutionary when its not. The article did make clear the BIG difference in performance between a T1 line and fiber optic cable.

countyman
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countyman 04/18/10 - 11:56 am
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This is a great idea.

This is a great idea. Technology is the future of the world.

cleanup
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cleanup 04/18/10 - 12:01 pm
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Disssman, with all of the

Disssman, with all of the interactive whiteboards in classrooms, the students don't need individual monitors to watch streaming video. Videos can be streamed directly onto the whiteboard. However, I agree with most of what you said. Richmond County can't even issue books to students in many classes, and many of the media specialists don't have the candlepower to handle the simplest technology. You can thank Dr. Bedden for all of this. He's an incompetent charlatan.

cleanup
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cleanup 04/18/10 - 12:03 pm
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Mrs. Bedden should also be

Mrs. Bedden should also be careful, as I've been hearing a lot of Larke-like stories about Dana and the ladies in his employ. But, he'll be gone soon, and will be off to destroy another school district. Good riddance.

themaninthemirror
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themaninthemirror 04/18/10 - 01:08 pm
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I have heard Mrs. Bedden has

I have heard Mrs. Bedden has a Princess complex and thinks she deserves all the expensive gifts that her husband showers her with. Could there be something to the above story?????????

countyman
20120
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countyman 04/18/10 - 02:24 pm
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Why did Dr. Bedden get so

Why did Dr. Bedden get so many job offers then? There were school districts across the country intrested in him. Probably because he improved the test scores and graduation rates. In every county he's been the superintendent of. Nobody can argue those facts.

What school district wouldn't be intrested. When you see those stats on a resume.

Asitisinaug
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Asitisinaug 04/18/10 - 03:31 pm
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First, Dr. Bedden has done a

First, Dr. Bedden has done a GREAT job in a difficult situation and no matter who the Superintendent is until their are real changes on the school board and the man in charge can FIRE the deadbeats vs. continuall displacing them, nothing will change as we will just keep wasting money due to politics and who knows who. Second, although not the main subject of the article, it is amazing that we have reached the point in our society that 72% of those attending school in Richmond County now eat for free at the expense of the taxpayers. Schools are meant to educate and it seems that with less than a 50% graduation rate in Richmond County all of our kids are learning at early ages how to live off of the government dole and become part of "the system" which will keep them back or incarcerated in the future...We need Change but not the changes this administration is bringing.

countyman
20120
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countyman 04/18/10 - 04:15 pm
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Richmond county's graduation

Richmond county's graduation rate is 71%.. Davidson and AR Johnson have a 100% graduation rate.

65% of students get free OR reduced lunch.

http://www.rcboe.org/home

disssman
6
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disssman 04/18/10 - 04:39 pm
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Countyman. How many

Countyman. How many locations was he superintendent of? What is the student to teacher ratio of Davidson and AR Johnson? What is the budget for these schools in comparison to other schools? We don't know because our elected officials want that kept from the public.

corgimom
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corgimom 04/18/10 - 04:43 pm
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Since Augusta is doing GREAT,

Since Augusta is doing GREAT, I don't understand why 72% of its students get free or reduced lunch.

The stats on the RCBOE site are old. It's currently 72%.

disssman
6
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disssman 04/18/10 - 04:44 pm
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Cleanup the last time I

Cleanup the last time I watched a board meeting they were discussing the possibility of procureing "White boards" at a huge expense. Part of the problem is teaching teachers how to use them in classrooms. BTW the rest of the world which is far advanced from us, is still using chalkboards which cost next to nothing. Further, those chalkboards and an overhead projestor were sufficient for my 17+ years of education. So why are they suddenly no longer any good?

countyman
20120
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countyman 04/18/10 - 08:20 pm
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Sure Corgimom. Now the stats

Sure Corgimom. Now the stats are old. Where is your link?

Riverman1
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Riverman1 04/18/10 - 09:05 pm
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Why doesn't anyone else get

Why doesn't anyone else get this? Davidson, AR Johnson, etc, draw superior students from the Richmond County school system. That hurts the schools they come from as far as graduation rates and so on in ways beyond the actual number of superior students lost.

Emptying schools of their academic leaders harms them immeasureably. Why do you think Brown v. BOE was about schools?

teachingthemasses
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teachingthemasses 04/19/10 - 10:12 am
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Sounds like RCBOE is lucky to

Sounds like RCBOE is lucky to have someone like Dibling working for them.

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