Iowa West Foundation Wide Area Network Project Recommendation
Identification of Need • The Council Bluffs Community School District’s current Wide Area Network is a mix of district owned wireless, Cox Fiber (secondary), and DSL. • The network throughput at each site ranges from 1.5 Mps to 10 Mbps with the average at about 6 Mbps. • With the addition of new systems (Human Resources, Finance, Payroll, Student Information, Curriculum Management, & Decision Support) the need for bandwidth has grown exponentially. • The current network infrastructure is not capable providing a fast, reliable connection to ensure the maximization of these resources. • The current network does not support the ability to use cutting edge instructional tools in the classroom.
Background • The Iowa West Foundation granted $500,000 to the Council Bluffs Community School District for the purpose of improving the district’s Wide Area Network (WAN). • The Information Systems Department contracted with Baker Communications to consult on the process of writing a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a WAN project. • On December 5, 2008 the district issued RFP #08-018 which contained the bid requirements and specifications for the systems. • Six vendors responded to the RFP.
Technical Analysis Key Factors Influencing the Decision: • The Cox proposal will deliver an amount of bandwidth far in excess of our original specifications. 100 Mbps per site • The Cox Business Proposal is eligible for E-rate funding which will discount the services up to 64% (See post E-Rate MRC) • The Cox Business proposal is for fiber optic connections to each site. Fiber optic cable is generally buried and immune to weather and other potential sources of interruption. It is our analysis that the Cox Business proposal will provide the most reliable service.
Technical Analysis (continued) • The Cox Business proposal is expandable by 10 times up to a rate of 1000 Mbps (at additional cost). This will help the district meet its future needs to expand capacity without incurring additional installation costs. • Cox is the current provider of WAN services to Council Bluffs CSD at Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Kirn & Wilson. These services have been very reliable and the district is satisfied with their performance. • The Cox Solution will allow the district to consolidate much of the Information Systems hardware to a central location. The economy of scale will allow the district to buy maintain fewer servers. The estimated cost savings is $10,000 - $20,000 per year. ($100,000 - $200,000 over the 10 year contract)
Financial Analysis Five and Ten Year Proposals (Same Service) 5 Year - $9,149.76 MRC – IWF Grant will fund the cost for 50 Months. 10 Year – $7398.14 MRC – IWF Grant will fund the cost 78 Months.
Recommendation • Information Systems recommends that the Board of Education approve the agreement with Cox Business to provide Wide Area Network services to the Council Bluffs Community School District for a term of 10 years. • The Information Systems Department would like the School Board to consider WAN services in much the same way as other “utilities”. (e.g., telephone, electricity, sewer & water, etc…) As the demand for bandwidth increases, the Cox Business solution provides the most scaleable solution for the district.
Professional Development • The WAN Project is really a turn-key solution for the district. The limited amount of training will be conducted as knowledge transfer during the implementation.
Program Analysis • The Network Systems Specialist will monitor the WAN daily to ensure that the district is receiving the contracted services. • Network use statistics pre / post installation will be used to document level of use. • Curriculum & Instruction will have the network capacity to expand the integration of technology into instruction. Many new technologies will be available to students and teachers. Data will be collected by the Media Specialists and Instructional Technologists to document use.