WANRack to build 10G fiber network for northern Colorado school district

WANRack, an emerging fiber-based provider focused on serving school districts, has been tapped to provide a 10G fiber-based WAN connecting schools in northern Colorado’s Eaton School District.

Upon completing this build out this fall, the 10G fiber network will give the district unlimited capacity to increase organizational efficiency and grow digital learning initiatives. WANRack said the engineering and permitting processes is already underway.

Similar to school districts in other states like Texas, the Eaton School District was able to take advantage of new rules in the federal E-Rate program to defray the network’s special construction costs. With engineering and permitting processes already underway, the district’s students will be able to leverage the new network this fall.

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Through the FCC's E-Rate order that was issued in 2015, the regulator amended the eligible services list to support the equal treatment of lit and dark fiber services. Local school districts are able to purchase either kind of service depending on their specific needs via an FCC Form 470 application.

Rob Oyler, CEO and founder of WANRack, told FierceTelecom in an e-mail that while this contract is for lit fiber, the service provider has a unique approach that can accommodate either dark or lit network configurations.

“The way we deploy it, the only difference between lit and dark is who owns the modules,” Oyler said. “[This] gives us a leg up.”

WANRack specializes in providing private fiber optic WAN solutions for K-12 school districts nationwide. By leveraging what it says is a unique model, the company can provide lit or dark fiber solutions that provide high levels of bandwidth at a lower cost than what’s available from the local cable or telco.

The contract with the Eaton School District is another example of the service provider’s success in bringing high speed networking to school districts across the northern front range of Colorado and into the state of Wyoming.

Oyler has plenty of experience with school district network builds: Before founding WANRack, he spent 12 years at Unite Private Networks building fiber networks for 120 school districts nationwide.

E-Rate is driving an increase in fiber deals with local school districts -- a number of other competitive players like Fatbeam and Zayo Group have been gaining momentum in other markets, providing a mix of dark and lit fiber. Fatbeam recently won 11 new E-Rate service contracts in four states -- Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana -- enabling it to not only address school districts but also additional fiber for local businesses that need higher bandwidth services.

No less compelling is Zayo. The service provider won a new dark fiber and IP services contract with the Texas Education Service Center Region 11, in which it will extend services to area schools via a fiber network build that's under construction in Dallas-Fort Worth. Specifically, the 1,178-mile platform consists of 440 miles of previously planned fiber to the tower (FTTT) build, 443 miles of existing network and 295 miles of new construction.

For more:
- see the release

Related articles:
Zayo brings dark fiber to north-central Texas schools, leverages existing FTTT investment
Fatbeam wins 11 new E-Rate contracts, builds 200 fiber miles to address wireless backhaul needs

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