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Providing High-speed Internet is like providing water and electricity in the classroom.
Lynn D. Smith, Superintendent
Brewton City Schools, AL
Brewton City Schools in rural Alabama (pop. 5,498) needed to upgrade its broadband access for students, teachers and administrators – understanding it was essential to provide the type of educational platform that would put their students ahead of the curve.
"Providing high-speed Internet for students is very similar to providing water and electricity in the classroom," notes Lynn D. Smith, Superintendent of Brewton City Schools. "It’s critical nowadays."
The district turned to Mediacom Business, who provided the school with the broadband connectivity and scalability via a robust fiber network. This reliable fiber backbone was essential to conduct the latest in e-learning curriculum, online testing and more so for the centralization of student records/grades. This bandwidth allows the administration to access this data simultaneously and instantaneously - right down to knowing where a student is at any given moment or watching 30 security cameras on an iPad.
Bret Dehoff, technology coordinator for Brewton City Schools, oversees a team of 2, maintaining 650 devices in 3 schools. His plate is full so he needs to rely on a provider who has the expertise to manage and monitor the network his school’s connection runs over. Still, "there isn’t enough time in the day to maintain everything," Dehoff explains. When there is an issue, "Mediacom is out there fixing it and I’m not down for 3 weeks," he continues. Even Superintendent Smith echoes Dehoff’s sentiment. "My job is to oversee schools, it’s not to have our fiber repaired," says Smith.
Mediacom Business cut the school’s broadband bill in half from their previous provider, which means that Dehoff can now purchase additional devices – that is huge for an education budget the district’s size.
On Friday, July 11, 2014 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved a plan to phase out funding for antiquated technologies, like pagers and dial-up phone service, under a program known as E-rate and to redirect $2 billion to boost wireless Internet connectivity in U.S. schools and libraries over the next two years. As an accredited Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) service provider, Mediacom Business has the experience, expertise and certifications to support the FCC’s new plan via our fiber network. The broadband conversation couldn’t be more important for schools right now.
"Connectivity allows rural areas most affected by poverty to access opportunities that they would not otherwise have," explains Vanessa Shelburne, 7th Grade Science Teacher at Brewton Middle School.
"We couldn't do any e-learning, distance learning or virtual field trips without fiber," explains Dehoff.
"Our goal is to meet the needs of each child individually, and that is a very large goal," notes Anne Lambert, principal of Brewton Elementary. Lambert discusses how Internet technologies allow for each child to learn at his or her own pace so that there is no more ‘teaching to the middle.’
Indeed, Mediacom Business, by providing cost-effective fiber solutions to Brewton City Schools, is allowing for each child to receive a proper education.
"You have to have a way to access that great world of information, and bring it to all," advocates Lambert.