Georgia U. partnership halves broadband costs for K-12

When Dave Nix of the University System of Georgia heard from his state’s K-12 system five years ago that it needed help with improving its connectivity, he soon discovered a vastly different environment than what he was accustomed to, but one in which he was eventually able to deliver huge cost savings.

In a video interview with EdScoop, Nix, the network support specialist for the university system’s Board of Regents, says his work with K-12 broadband began around 2012 at a time when the schools had infrastructure that supported just 15 Mbps connections.

He says there are still some gaps in connectivity, but after one year, many of the schools were able to attain 100 Mbps connections.

“We reduced their costs by 50 percent in doing so,” Nix says.

The university system was able to use existing dark fiber networks and build strategic partnerships with private vendors, he says. After initial upgrades, his office began looking more closely at traffic data and was also able to prioritize the sites that accounted for the most traffic — 17 sites accounted for 70 percent of the K-12 traffic, he says.

The system formed a direct peering relationship with Google, free of cost, to provide 60 gigabits of connectivity, he says. Another 40 gigabit peering relationship was formed through an agreement with education and research networking provider Southern Crossroads, and an additional 30 gigs of traffic was provided for another 16 sites, which he says costs his office $4,000 annually.

“So the savings we’ve had over commodity internet rates has just been tremendous,” Nix says.

Nix offers advice to other edtech leaders:

Nix on his office’s top priorities:

Nix on upcoming edtech trends: