A crew in June buried new fiber-optic cable near Clayton High School, part of a countywide switch in service providers that school leaders say will save money.
The Johnston County Board of Education voted earlier this year to use Broadplex LLC of Morganton instead of CenturyLink to provide telecommunication services to its schools.
The school system signed a three-year contract with Broadplex that will cost the district about $561,000 annually. That’s about $137,000 less than the school system’s existing contract with CenturyLink, which costs $698,181 a year.
Broadplex started providing services July 1.
School system spokeswoman Tracey Peedin Jones said Broadplex installed new fiber optic cables throughout the county. She said Broadplex paid the installation costs.
In North Carolina, the state provides Internet access to school districts through the N.C. Research and Education Network. However, school systems are responsible for delivering the service.
But like other systems, Johnston County schools receive funding support for telecommunication services and Internet access through the E-Rate program.
The Telecommunications Act of 1996 requires carriers to earmark a portion of their profits to support universal service for health-care providers, libraries and schools. Carriers pay into a Universal Service Fund, and the Universal Administrative Service Co. allocates those dollars based on need.
Schools apply for support from the Universal Service Fund through E-Rate, which is also known as the Schools and Library Program, said Laura Betancourt, outreach manager for Universal Administrative Service Co.
Johnston County schools spent $865,710 on telecommunication services and Internet access this past school year and received $746,745 through the E-rate program, Jones said.
The school system reviewed bids from several carriers in January and determined that Broadplex and CenturyLink were the only two that met the requirements of the district. The school board awarded the contract to Broadplex at its Feb. 11 meeting.
Dunn: 919-553-7234, Ext. 104