New Partnership Provides District with High Speed Internet Service

PITTSBURGH, PA, October 20, 2003 — The Pittsburgh Public Schools has entered into a partnership with the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) that will give the District access to Internet2 and prepare the way for Distance Learning and other sophisticated technology.

To obtain access to Internet2, which is primarily limited to colleges and universities, the District needed a sponsor. “We are fortunate that the PSC was able to sponsor us for the Internet2, since we are not an institution of higher education” said Superintendent of Schools John W. Thompson.

“We are very proud to be one of the first K-12 school districts [in Pennsylvania] to have this opportunity,” he added. Thompson said Internet2 will be a featured component of the District’s next three-year strategic plan for technology.

Chief Technology Officer Elbert Yaworsky said Internet2 and Abilene, the research network of Internet2, are important to the District. Yaworsky also noted that the District has met or exceeded a substantial number of the goals outlined in the current Technology Plan. “There is much excitement about the extensive training opportunities the new Technology Plan will provide with the District’s next three-year plan,” he said.

“The Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center is very pleased to facilitate Pittsburgh Public Schools’ access to leading edge networking technologies and network attached educational resources,” said Wendy Huntoon, assistant director of networking for PSC. “This is a significant first step to providing broader access to national educational resources for the region.”

Access to Internet2 provides district users with the same services primarily available to universities and colleges:

  • Significant instructional and educational opportunities, such as Distance Learning and streaming video, will be enhanced.
  • Expanded opportunities for high school students and teacher research, particularly at the high school level, will be created.
  • Local peering will reduce the time it takes to access Pittsburgh websites. Internet traffic bound for local destinations is often routed through Philadelphia, New York or even Chicago. The PSC link keeps local connections local, reducing access and download times.
  • The number of higher education partnerships should increase dramatically; and
  • Existing and future E-rate eligible equipment should support these educational and training partnerships.

The Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center is a joint effort of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh together with the Westinghouse Electric Company. It was established in 1986 and is supported by several federal agencies, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and private industry.