Broadband capability could grow to be situation in IEN dispute

Include broadband capability issues to the checklist of concern’s following a judge’s choice last month to void the state’s broadband contract.

Meeting Tuesday in Boise, members of the Idaho Program Resource Advisory Council expressed concerns that the Idaho Education Network could attain its capability by March or April if state officials really don’t intervene.

Tom Luna

Tom Luna

On Nov. 10, District Court Judge Patrick Owen voided the state’s $ 60 million broadband contract, writing “An agreement created in violation of the state’s procurement law are not able to be fixed or cured.”

The state had relied on federal “e-rate” dollars collected from surcharges on mobile phone bills to cover 3-fourths of the costs of the contract. But, amid the contract dispute, the Federal Communications Commission’s contractor, Universal Support Administrative Firm, lower off Idaho’s e-fee payments.

The IEN stays online as the legal wrangling plays out, but officials are holding off on new upgrades meant to handle capacity problems in light of the court ruling, IEN Technical Director Brady Kraft informed IPRAC members.

“Without acquiring added bandwidth increases we will be behind in some personal (school) districts as we move forward,” Kraft explained.

Usage of the broadband network has basically doubled each and every year given that the system went on-line as more colleges apply 1-to-one computing device policies, a lot more students spend a lot more time online and pupils consider benefit of dual credit programs.

The network’s capacity is seven.two gigabits, but if utilization trends carry on, capacity could be exceeded by March or April. If capability is reached, that could affect the network’s speed and dependability.

“It obviously creates a sense of urgency in my mind… to assure as we operate by means of these issues this has minor or no impact in the classroom,” outgoing Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna mentioned.

“At some stage in the near potential capability is going to become an problem and obvious in the classroom,” Luna continued. “The unintended consequence is student growth and pushing the pause button. In some colleges, sadly, it will be some time period of time ahead of they re-engage (so) we really don’t to want see that pause.”

Luna said he remained committed to ensuring schools’ support is not interrupted or affected during this time period of uncertainty.

Members of the committee carried out an about hour-extended executive session on Tuesday to discuss litigation and the situation, but emerged with out taking any action.

IPRAC members are scheduled to meet again Feb. 10, and lawmakers are anticipated to debate their options and how to shell out the program’s expenses right after the 2015 legislative session opens Jan. twelve.

Superintendent-elect Sherri Ybarra will consider Luna’s place on IPRAC when she is sworn into office up coming month.

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