Waukesha, Wisconsin now offers an ultra-fast connection for educational and government members. WiscNetWire reports that the region's Community Area Network (CAN) obtained 1 gigabit Internet capability in August.
We have reported on Wisconsin's efforts to expand connectivity using the CAN model of collaboration. The people of Wisconsin are hard at working connecting to each other with a combination of stimulus funding and matching local contributions.
WECAN (the Wakesha Community Area Network) now connects Carroll University, Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC), Waukesha Public Schools and the City of Waukesha. The 1Gbps connection to the Internet is now available to the entities on the network. According to the WiscNetWire article:
On August 30th, WECAN finished work on a new fiber-optic connection giving each organization a 1 Gigabit connection to the Internet. Steve Schlomann, Chief Information Officer for the School District of Waukesha, compares this upgrade to “opening a 10 lane freeway where we once had a single lane road.”
WECAN started as an idea advanced by WCTC and Carroll University. The two entities established relationships within the private and public sectors. The initial fiber network was built in 2011. From the article:
More recently, the School District of Waukesha and the City of Waukesha also joined WECAN. The school district and city worked with CableCom LLC, Cisco, Heartland Business Systems, Multimedia Communications and Engineering of Green Bay and WiscNet to build and leverage their connection. With the addition of these members, the network, which was intentionally designed to allow other local institutions to easily join and share in the benefits, is currently being shared by four organizations with intentions to continue growing.
The ease with which other groups will be able to connect to WECAN should encourage other entities to participate. Current members of the network report cost savings and increased efficiency as a benefit of the collaborative nature of the project.
In addition to ease of connecting and savings through cooperation, new members who join will get the added benefit of high capacity. Doug Uhl, IT Infrastructure Manager at Waukesha Technical College told WiscNetWire:
“The beauty and design of WECAN is to allow members to individually and jointly vision and design applications and services without concern about bandwidth,” says Uhl.
With 1 Gbps capability, the Waukesha School District has plans to make full use of the most advanced educational technology tools:
“This is a great example of cooperation that has allowed us to expand our connection speed at a reasonable cost,” explains Schlomann. “We are all very excited about this milestone!”