The Board of Education recognized two Project Lead the Way programs at its meeting last month. Congratulations to Canton and Sioux Falls for earning PLTW certification!
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Tech Corner

Ethernet is speedy … and spreading

You may have heard about the DDN K-12 Broadband Upgrade project. It’s a joint effort of the South Dakota Department of Education and Bureau of Information and Telecommunications. The scope of the project is to increase all schools’ present Internet bandwidth from their current speeds to 10 Mbps. (To non-techies, that just means it will be fast!)

Today’s learning environment increasingly relies on emerging web-based applications and content, which results in a growing need for bandwidth. Many districts in South Dakota currently use “T1 lines” for their connection to the DDN and Internet. The upgrades will convert those districts to 10 Mbps Ethernet connections as those services become available in those areas.

Naturally, this leads to the question: “When will my district be upgraded?” There are several contingencies that determine when Ethernet services will become available to a particular area or more specifically, a particular school district. Construction plans for digging in the lines, weather, cost and manpower at the local-provider level are all factors that affect the timeline of when these services can be available in a particular area. Below is an illustration representing the present state of Ethernet service availability in our K-12 school districts.

With the above illustration, you can see that the scope of this project covers a lot of ground. Thirty-two districts have been completed, 25 districts are in the conversion process and 95 will be done in the future. Currently in the state, there are several parties like DOE, BIT,, and more than 30 telecommunications providers working together with one important objective: to make this entire map blue!