Lincoln Intermediate Unit Puts Southern Pennsylvania Schools on the Fast Track with Comcast Business Ethernet
44-Site Ethernet Network Service, Ethernet Private Line and Ethernet Dedicated Internet for 96,000 Students across Three CountiesDownload this article as a PDF >
- Pennsylvania education service provides technology and learning resources to 96,000 students and teachers in three counties
- Existing network service and Internet access cannot cost-effectively scale to support digital education initiatives and technology needs of member school districts
- Comcast Business Ethernet Network Service
- Comcast Business Ethernet Dedicated Internet
- Comcast Business Ethernet Private Line
- Scalable capacity to support digital learning and technology services
- Ability to offer new cloud- and disaster recovery services
Regional Education Collaborative Provides Education and Technology Resources to Member School Districts
Founded in 1970, the Lincoln Intermediate Unit (IU) provides education and technology resources for 96,000 students and teachers in 25 southern Pennsylvania school districts, as well as two career and technology centers, more than 80 non-public schools, and several learning centers, libraries and charter schools across York, Franklin and Adams counties.
Lincoln IU services include adult education, non-public school services, business services, migrant & English as a Second Language (ESL) services, instructional services, special education, management services, and technology services.
Scalable Internet and Network Connectivity is Critical to Support Delivery of Educational Services
Technology underpins nearly all of Lincoln IU’s service offerings. In addition to offering Internet access, cloud-based IT support, video conferencing capabilities, Voice-over-IP (VoIP) and hosted servers to its member districts, Lincoln IU also provides them with the ability to use its Lincoln Learning Network (LLN), an online portal that hosts Discovery Learning streaming educational content.
As demand for hosted IT and online educational services grew, the Lincoln IU found it needed to substantially increase the capacity of both the wide area network connecting it to its members, as well as its connection out to the public Internet, however it was limited by cost and coverage options with its existing service provider.
“More than 96,000 local students and teachers depend on us for access to their online educational resources each day, which means that we need to have total confidence in the quality and reliability of the communications services we use so that they can connect to their data when they need it,” said Jared Mader, director of education technology for the Lincoln Intermediate Unit.
Comcast Business Delivers Scalable, High-Performance Ethernet Services to Support Digital Learning
After evaluating multiple service providers, Lincoln IU selected Comcast Business to provide the network and Internet services required to support its educational initiatives, as well as to connect its member school districts to the PAIUnet, a statewide, high-speed private network that Lincoln IU also connects to that allows teachers and students to communicate, collaborate and share educational resources online.
Lincoln IU is now using an Ethernet Network Service and Ethernet Private Lines from Comcast Business with speeds ranging from 100 Megabits-per-second (Mbps) to 1 Gigabit-per-second (Gbps) that connect 44 of its member sites. The organization is also taking advantage of two 1 Gbps Ethernet Dedicated Internet lines that provide Internet access for the schools to support the use of online course management systems, which allow teachers to create their own online courses, websites, video content and calendars, as well as post assignments, test results and discussion topics for students.
“Comcast has allowed many of our member districts to increase their bandwidth exponentially – and for a great price, in some cases – which has given them access to cloud computing, video conferencing and other online educational tools that had previously been cost-prohibitive for them,” said Mader.
This additional capacity also allows the Lincoln IU to offer remote data replication to support disaster preparedness initiatives for member school districts via a data center located at its headquarters in New Oxford, Pa. Schools can now back up their data at Lincoln IU and take advantage of redundant power, climate control, and, most importantly, geographic separation.
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