FORT MILL, SC — Fort Mill School District officials announced that it has completed the testing of its newly completed broadband infrastructure, opening the doors to improved and reliable access to the district’s approved content for its students, faculty and administration.

“With the additional capacity, we’ve alleviated a bottleneck among the schools and the data center at the district office during peak utilization times,” said Brian Spittle, the district’s director of technology services. “We had 1 Gig shared by all of the schools and now we have a dedicated 1 Gig to each of our 15 schools. We now have a complete 10 Gig data center; so this has to be one of the most sophisticated networks in the state.”

According to Comporium, the Fort Mill School District has now joined Rock Hill Schools and the Lexington School District 1 as having the most advanced 10 Gig Ethernet infrastructure out of the state’s 83 school districts.

Text Books Become Tech Books
Rock Hill School District’s Tony Cox, associate superintendent, said the 10 Gig Ethernet network is helping to make rapid changes in his district’s approach to instruction as Fort Mill School District will soon discover. “I’ll give you some examples of how Comporium’s network impacts us,” Cox said. “Your children and grandchildren now have access to ‘tech’ books instead of text books. When a major event happens, they can be learning about it in their tech books within a couple of weeks and not have to wait for another textbook to be published. They have virtual science labs and can experience the activity interactively without the school going to the expense of multiple experiments in an actual lab. And, the schools can draw upon experts like authors, professors and international advisors from around the globe to bring a topic to life for the students.”

Fort Mill School District’s Marty McGinn, assistant superintendent for curriculum and human resources, recognizes the future benefits of the newly upgraded broadband connectivity. “As we are moving to more and more instructional materials that are online, the need for widespread access and reliability is going to be huge,” said McGinn. “Having a lot of students with access at the same time will enhance the use of digital text books and online resources. The 10 Gig Ethernet network will expand the capacity for teachers to integrate technology on a daily basis in their classrooms.”

McGinn agreed with Cox that the trend of subject matter coming into more use online is growing. “In middle school, we have a math textbook program called “digits,” which has some work that is online,” McGinn added. “If students are doing an assignment, problem or design on the website, they can click options that demonstrate it for them. If they get a problem wrong, the program will show them what to do; and it gives them another problem that is similar. It’s very interactive, and it promotes differentiation in teaching, which means they can learn at their own pace and level.”

“We are moving as a state toward more online testing,” continued McGinn. “All of the assessment companies are moving to online instead of paper and pencil tests. Assessment tools must work consistently and work quickly, particularly when there’s a short window to test an entire grade across all schools at the same time.”

Comporium said that it will continue to explore opportunities for similar projects with other local school districts that are located within reach of the company’s facilities. “Fort Mill and Rock Hill are less complicated because we own most of the facilities that interconnect their administration buildings and their schools,” said Dosch. “In addition, the school district’s leadership must also commit the resources and capital for equipment to realize the benefits that the network upgrade will enable; so it’s an investment and a partnership. The return, however, is going to be meaningful when it comes to the doors that can be opened for our children.”

The Comporium spokesman also pointed to the school districts’ broadband projects as part of a larger strategy by the company to spur local economic development in the area. Comporium delivered its 1 gigabit high-speed Internet service to Rock Hill’s downtown area, known as Knowledge Park, and to area business parks this summer.

Extending Service to Residential Customers
The company then announced that it planned to extend the same service to residential customers in 125 neighborhoods that it serves currently with fiber optics to the premises. The company is initially focusing its conversion efforts on the following neighborhoods: Kimbrell Crossing, Reid Pointe, Rosemont, Bridgemill, Hanover Crossing, Trinity Ridge, Lakebridge, Avery Lakes and Dominion Bridge.

headquartered in Rock Hill, S.C., is a diversified privately held communications company providing voice, video, data, wireless, security and advertising services. Comporium’s ventures include companies providing fiber transport and business solutions, data storage and managed services, smart devices and connected home/car services, and digital signage.