Department seeks statewide broadband contract

The State Department of Education is looking to award a statewide contract to ensure every Idaho public high school has uninterrupted high-speed Internet.

On Monday, the department released a request for proposals for the statewide service. Interested firms must submit proposals by June 28, and officials hope to select a vendor in July, department spokeswoman Melissa McGrath said.

The 2013 Legislature set aside $2.25 million for the project.

The new statewide contract would complement the Idaho Education Network, which already provides broadband access to most schools that include 12th grade. The new contract applies to schools offering ninth through 12th grades, which ensures all public high schools will have broadband access.

Tom Luna
Tom Luna

“In this 21st century, we have to make sure every public high school is equipped with the advanced technology necessary to provide every student and teacher with equal access to the best educational opportunities, no matter where they live,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna said in a news release. “Wireless internet access is a critical component of the 21st century classroom so teachers can integrate the technology they need in the classroom, whether it is videos, one-to-one devices, or other mobile technology that improves learning and engages students in the digital world they live in today.”

The RFP indicates the initial term of the contract would run for five years. Service providers would be expected to:

  • Deploy and manage the wireless infrastructure and service.
  • Provide professional development at multiple levels.
  • Offer project management.

Schools that already offer broadband access will be allowed to opt out of the statewide contract if they are happy with their existing service.