Self-provisioning internet can save districts big on monthly costs. So why haven’t more districts invested in it?
In Evan Marwell’s estimation, anywhere from 10 to 15 percent of the nation’s K-12 school districts have self-provisioned their own fiber networks. In most cases, this CEO of San Francisco-based EducationSuperHighway says these districts opt to self-provision those networks because they can’t get internet access any other way.
“These are primarily rural schools that can’t get anyone else to bring cyber to them,” says Marwell, “and/or that couldn’t get a service provider to build a fiber network for them.”
Marwell says there are two major components that are needed to gain internet access: the access itself (i.e., the type that comes into either the district office or some other signal point within the district) and wide-area network (WAN) that connects that district office to all of the schools.
According to Marwell, self-provisioning is usually only involved with the latter, with the primary driver being the ability to effectively run “your own little network that connects all of your schools together,” he explains. “It costs almost nothing to do this, and you can get as much capacity as you need.”
Next page: Potential cost-savings in real numbers