AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - A 70-mile network expansion of fiber transport services aims to better support the needs of the Amarillo Independent School District.
The FiberLight expansion is expected to boost AISD’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, education programs.
However FiberLight officials say it will also help Amarillo businesses that utilize high-speed fiber services.
Amarillo ISD will utilize FiberLight’s Dark Fiber network to expand the school district’s digital capabilities across its 58 locations, serving more than 33,000 students.
“We get to light it ourselves and it gives us the capabilities,” said AISD Chief Technology Officer Jeff Roller. “Then if we need additional bandwidth in a particular area, we can change out the optical equipment and get faster speed from Point A to Point B.”
The expansion will move the district further toward their goal of preparing students for college and STEM careers.
“We just hope as preparing of having networks that are available for them and new experiences for them to be able to experience like our chromebooks in the like,” said Roller. “To be able to immerse them in the technology in the classroom will simply engage them in a new level and prepare them for life beyond Amarillo Independent School District.”
“You can’t educate kids with technology if you don’t have it foundationally available to you,” said FiberLight Strategic Account Manager Jonna Bass. “So being able to have that foundation will be integral to being able to grow quickly and still having that fixed cost.”
The move creates what Bass calls a vital technology highway.
“This will be a foundational springboard for economic development, small businesses, education and healthcare,” said Bass.
She said the full benefits of this new system may not fully be realized in five to 10 years, but the economic impact will be far-reaching beyond just AISD.
“This will help really support local businesses, not in the sense of the end user, but anyone who offers wireless services,” said Bass. “So there are a lot of local companies and they will benefit from this expansion it will lower their cost to build and bring better service to the home.”
Thanks to Texas State Match Funds, AISD is on track to have the entire FiberLight construction project funded by federal and state programs.
The 70-mile expansion will also provide high-speed internet access and networking capabilities to other large cities in and around the Texas Panhandle, including Lubbock, Midland and Odessa.