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DQE Wins Contract for Over 40 School Districts in Allegheny County

Allegheny County Schools RWAN Network Provider Selected

Allegheny County school districts to realize substantial savings in network costs. DQE Communications to manage and maintain network during five-year contract.

Media Alert:

PITTSBURGH, December 15, 2015 – The Allegheny Intermediate Unit (AIU) and the Allegheny County Schools RWAN RFP Steering Committee is pleased to announce that DQE Communications has been selected to provide telecommunications services to Allegheny County school districts served by its regional wide area network. Contract negotiations will commence immediately for the management of the network and service is scheduled to begin on July 1, 2016.

The framework, also known as the Allegheny County RWAN, is the telecommunications network that links area schools over high-speed fiber optic connections. It is designed to more efficiently transmit and share data involved with administrative and instructional applications, such as distance learning, video content and educational software. The Allegheny County RWAN also acts as a bulk-purchaser of commodity Internet bandwidth, which allows school districts to take advantage of extremely discounted rates and fully maximize federal e-Rate subsidies.

The five-year contract will ensure that schools in Allegheny County will continue to have affordable and efficient access to the Internet, Internet2 and the Pennsylvania state network of schools known as PAIUNET. The agreement includes potential service to 46 organizations including 41 public school districts, four career and technical centers and the AIU. It is anticipated that school districts will save thousands of dollars every month in network costs. The bidding process began in September.

The selection of DQE Communications was made by the RFP steering committee comprised of the following members:

  • Jon Amelio – AIU, Chief Technology Officer
  • Raymond Berrott – Upper St. Clair School District, Director of Technology
  • Rick Dobrzynski – AIU, Network Administrator
  • Scott Hand – Fox Chapel Area School District, Director of Educational Technology
  • Debra Kriete – E-rate Consultant and Project Coordinator
  • Joe Miller – A.W. Beattie Career Center, Director of Technology
  • Rich Platts – South Park School District, Director of Technology
  • Ron Reyer, Jr., – Bethel Park School District, Director of Technology

Among the goals of the committee was to establish a cost-effective network design that ensures competitive prices and scalability to meet districts’ increasing bandwidth demands. In addition, the committee desired a network that would coordinate Internet2 and Commodity Internet access services so that traffic is routed in the most effective means possible.

DQE Communications was one of six vendors that submitted proposals. Some of the key aspects of DQE’s plan included the lowest pricing for both circuit cost and its Internet integrated solution. Among other features, DQE will provide smart routing and direct district-to-district traffic that will increase the network’s efficiency. Usage monitoring and reporting will be provided for individual school districts. It is anticipated that the transition will be complete by July 1, 2016.

Jon Amelio, Chief Technology Officer of the AIU, said that he was pleased with the progress made by the committee of district technology leaders and that the contract reflects the new realities of lower commodity Internet pricing as well as a solution derived from strong collaboration between school districts, the AIU, and state and federal support agencies.

“The steering committee was very diligent in ensuring that schools in Allegheny County would have access to one of the most efficient, cost-effective and flexible networks in the state. The RFP process has certainly been a joint effort between several organizations, and this diverse participation has ensured that all voices were heard,” he said.

DQE Communications is based in the SouthSide Works and provides fiber optic network services to businesses in Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania. Jim Morozzi, President and CEO of DQE, said that they were thankful to the steering committee for their decision and are looking forward to partnering with school districts in Allegheny County.

“We are thrilled that the AIU selected DQE Communications as its fiber-optic network provider for the RWAN,” he said. “DQE prides itself on taking a consultative approach to really understand our customer’s specific challenges to find the best solution. The network design DQE proposed for the AIU RWAN and Internet solutions is reliable, efficient and scalable.”

Over the next several weeks, it is anticipated that school districts will determine their level of participation.

Further media queries can be directed to Sarah McCluan at 412.394.3472 or sarah.mccluan@aiu3.net.

About the AIU

The Allegheny Intermediate Unit (AIU) is a branch of the Pennsylvania Department of Education

and provides specialized education services to 42 suburban public school districts, five vocational and technical schools, and operates 10 family centers and three schools for exceptional children.

About DQE Communications

Headquartered in Pittsburgh’s SouthSide Works development, DQE Communications is one of the leading providers of high-speed, fiber-optic data networking for businesses throughout the western Pennsylvania region. The company’s network of fiber-optic cables spans thousands of miles throughout Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Blair, Butler, Indiana, Mercer, Washington and Westmoreland counties. Already in hundreds of commercial buildings in the region, DQE Communications is continually working to expand its network.

Through dark fiber, metro Ethernet, internet and collocation services, DQE Communications offers customers secure, reliable and flexible network services.

An unregulated subsidiary of Duquesne Light Holdings, DQE Communications was established in 1997. For more information, visit www.DQECOM.com or call 1-866-GO-FIBER.

1-866-GO-FIBER
(1-866-463-4237)