Education in Sudbury, Ont. recently got a technological boost with the help of Regional Cablesystems Inc., which has built a gigabit Ethernet wide area network for two of the school boards in northern Ontario.
Le Conseil scolaire catholique du Nouvel-Ontario, a French Catholic school board, and the Sudbury Catholic District School Board both had high-speed cable modem services from Regional, but they were starting to outgrow them and wanted to be able to move towards new applications, according to Darren Richer, the director of IT and communications at Regional, also based in Sudbury.
“We take a different approach when it comes to education. We look and try to fit a solution for school boards that will, if you will, last them a little longer than a year or two. The school boards up here have been particularly progressive in terms of finding new applications,” Richer said, “so while we could have effectively engineered the network at 100Mbps, when we took a look at our costs to do it…we could offer the school boards gigabit service for effectively the same price that they pay for 100Mbps.”
According to Gilbert Berube, the manager of information management services with the Sudbury Catholic Board, the new network was necessary to “improve the communications between our schools and our board office. We do have a lot of traffic that goes onto the Internet from here. All of the traffic is routed through our head office, and we needed the increased speed for the course material that is being delivered over the Internet to our secondary schools.”
Future plans that both of the boards have were a large factor in implementing the new networks. A lot of the schools in northern Ontario are spread out, and some are pretty much secluded, Berube pointed out, so not all of the same courses are available in all the buildings. Eventually the Sudbury District Board would like to be able to use videoconferencing so that all of the students will have the same opportunities and the new network will be able to accommodate this.