State education net revs up

San Luis Obispo County is the first county in California to hook up all of its K-12 schools to the high-speed Digital California Project education network. All schools in California's 58 counties should be tied into the DCP by the end of this year.

The maximum speed of the DCP backbone, which runs over the current copper-based telecommunications infrastructure, is 2.5 gigabits/sec. Plans to go to a fiber network in a year or so will allow for even higher speeds.

Schools connected to the DCP also have an automatic connection to the Next Generation Internet (Internet2), the ultra high-speed backbone network that directly connects universities and research organizations in the United States and around the world.

By connecting to the DCP, students will be able to employ multimedia applications using video, audio and text elements in ways they simply cannot via the commercial Internet, said a spokeswoman for the nonprofit Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (www.cenic.org). CENIC was formed by the California Institute of Technology, California State University, Stanford University, the University of California and the University of Southern California to coordinate the deployment and development of advanced network services. The DCP is CENIC's second project.

The network also will provide services to schools that are deficient in certain areas. For example, the University of California is looking to put all of its Advanced Placement courses online, the CENIC spokeswoman said, "so that will be really good for those schools that are without [resources such as] calculus or physics teachers."

A Web portal is expected to be available in the fall that will enable teachers to see what education content is available via the DCP that they can use in their lessons.

Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore. He can be reached at hullite@mindspring.com.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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