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New Fiber Network Opens Up District Capabilities

New Fiber Network Opens Up School District Capabilities
Posted on 09/29/2023
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The sky's the limit with JeffcoNet, Jeffco Public School’s (Jeffco’s) new fiber optic network.

By constructing its independent fiber network along the front range, Jeffco not only secures enhanced bandwidth but also gains significant control and management capabilities over the circuits that deliver network resources to each school and administrative site along the front range. This strategic move enables the district to better support students and staff in their day-to-day computing requirements while simultaneously yielding long-term utility cost savings.

JeffcoNet is a districtwide capital asset that will serve students, staff and other community partners. It was primarily funded through Jeffco Builds bond money approved by voters in 2018. These Jeffco Builds projects, including the fiber network, are resulting in big wins for the district and the community.

The Need for Speed

Similar to the residences in Jefferson County, the district has been relying on a commercial internet provider and dealing with the associated recurring monthly expenses. As we all know from our personal internet bills, these costs tend to escalate with the growth of data usage and technological advancements.

The increased capacity offered by JeffcoNet opens many new opportunities for the district, making it possible to implement various technology-based enhancements aligned with the district's mission and vision as outlined in the Jeffco Thrives strategic plan.

Some of the benefits for the district include:

  • Providing a robust network for cloud applications
  • Improving the fan experience at district stadiums so that games can potentially be streamed live
  • Delivering a strong, reliable network for Jeffco’s Department of School Safety

This modernization empowers the district to advance its educational pursuits, foster community engagement, and create an environment where students and staff can thrive and succeed.

Stronger Connections

Over the past three years, Jeffco has partnered with neighboring municipalities, organizations and landowners to run 164.5 miles of fiber optic cable throughout the District. The numerous agreements result in a network that benefits everyone.

JeffcoNet map 

The cable is run through a conduit — a plastic tunnel that holds the fiber optic cable — with room for expansion into three additional tubes. In some cases, JeffcoNet is utilizing existing conduit. In other cases, JeffcoNet is sharing its conduit with others. The network involved numerous partnerships with municipalities and organizations including the City of Lakewood, City of Arvada, City of Golden and the Colorado Department of Transportation to share the network and access land in order to bury fiber lines.

Phase one of the project, which includes all front range sites, was completed on June 30, 2023. The front range sites have all been converted and are now active on JeffcoNet. The mountain sites have unique requirements and will continue to use the most cost efficient commercial utilities until other cost effective options are identified alongside technological advances.

"I hope the entire Jeffco community will join our team to celebrate the launch of the front range JeffcoNet project. The ability to scale bandwidth needs to each individual site will ensure that we stay aligned with our goal of bandwidth equity per student today and for future decades," said Jeffco’s Chief Information Officer Jill Ibeck.

"We look forward to returning on this investment which will be used to directly serve our mission to provide a world-class education that prepares all Jeffco students for bright and successful futures as local and global citizens."

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