SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 156
September 20, 1996
|FROM:||Richard T. La Pointe
Superintendent of Public Instruction
|SUBJECT:||Discounted Telephone Rates|
The existing telecommunications rate structure for telephone lines in public schools is costly and has made the infusion of technology into the classroom more difficult given limited financial resources. One exception to this rate structure is set forth in Section 56-232 "Contract of Telephone Companies with State Government" and Section 56-234 "Contracts for Service Rendered by a Telephone Company for State Government." This exception provides for lower rates to be established for use by the state government and negotiation of special rates outside the current structure for residential or commercial use. Because of these concerns, the 1996 General Assembly included language in the 1996-98 Appropriations Act which requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Director of the Council on Information Management to negotiate the rates for such lines (See Superintendents Memorandum #78). The language includes communication lines used for educational technology in public schools under the "state" structure, and authorizes the superintendent and director to encourage the development of "by-pass" infrastructure in localities where competitive price or prices consistent with the best rates in other parts of the state cannot be obtained. The State Corporation Commission (SCC) is encouraged to make discounts for intrastate services to elementary and secondary schools and libraries for educational purposes as large as possible and to fund such discounts through the universal fund (established pursuant to the Telecommunications Act of 1996). This memorandum has two purposes: (1) to provide you with a description of three known projects available or soon to be available with the objective to provide lower rates for public schools, and (2) to provide some questions to be considered when contracting which may help you choose services through all or some of these projects. SUPTS. Memo September 20, 1996 Page 2 1. 1996 General Assembly Authorization to Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Director of the Council on Information Management A series of meetings held during the spring and summer of 1996 involved the two agency leaders and their staffs, a representative of the SCC, and a Senate Finance staff analyst. The results of the meetings and discussions with school leaders suggest an approach to expand upon developing regional school division telephone service contract for long distance voice services to include all school divisions. In this contract, discount rates will be sought for all school divisions. Additionally, in the future some school division contract originators will be asked to include the same offer. A review of fiber availability within the state including the last mile, and Internet access have been requested from the Virginia Telecommunications Association. 2. Virginia Tech/Old Dominion/VCCS Contract This is a multi-agency arrangement for ATM-based network services with fully integrated internet services in which Bell Atlantic provides digital connectivity from the end user to Sprint which provides network switching and inter-LATA delivery. Virginia Tech, as the contractor, provides coordination with schools through a contract administrator. This contract is available to schools across the Commonwealth of Virginia and provides comprehensive service options at extremely competitive pricing without administrative overhead charges. Contact Ms. Patricia Jackson at (804) 786-8130 for information about the Virginia Tech/ODU/VCCS Contract. 3. Department of Information Technology Contract DIT's information technology service offerings are available to all Virginia local governments including local school divisions. Voice, data and video offerings are available. Equipment contracts and consulting services are also available. DIT offers end-to-end, turn-key solutions. All DIT network services require no long term commitments and are billed at regular monthly intervals. Consulting services for network design and implementation for voice, data and video services are also available. SUPTS. Memo September 20,1996 Page 3 Contact Tom Kusiak, at (804) 371-5918, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or Leslie Carter, at (804) 371-5577, e-mail email@example.com for information about the Department of Information Technology Contract. Attachment A provides some questions schools may find useful when deciding to purchase available and future telephone services for infrastructure and networking recommended in the State Board's K-12 Six-Year Educational Technology Plan for Virginia and in local technology long-range plans. Attachment A is not intended to be either a directive or a complete document. The intent is to provide timely Department of Education technical assistance to schools. Contact Hud Croasdale at (804) 225-3622 or Ida Hill at (804) 225-2757 for information concerning the School Division Contract and related activities. RLP/emt Attachment: This memo and its attachment will be sent to the superintendent's office Attachment A Questions to be Considered When Contracting for K-12 Educational Technology Telephone Services A. Costs to School Division 1. What are the total costs for this technology? For each school, please break out by: a. Hardware b. Software c. Cable for new internal lines to be installed d. Labor for new internal lines to be installed e. Cable for any new external lines required f. Labor for new external lines to be installed g. Cost of switching service from external provider h. On-going maintenance/warranty costs i. Monthly line/service charges 2. Will the system require more or less technology support staffing? 3. Will school phone lines be replaced by service through this system? At what cost? 4. Will the network require upgrades in hardware and software during the term of the contract? Who pays? 5. What options are available to my division? What are the costs? 6. How do I get the service if fiber is not available at my school? What will it cost? 7. With what networks will this service interface? Please specify as precisely as possible identifying voice, video, or data, and the type of technology involved (for example, ATM, fast ethernet). B. Operation 1. Who manages the system/network? 2. What are the benefits of this system/network to my students, schools, division, and homes? 3. What response time for repairs can be expected? Compare to current system? 4. Who guarantees technical assistance, troubleshoots, and makes repairs? Who pays? C. Future 1. What on-going discussions beyond the contract being considered might benefit schools' telephone rates? 2. What proposals are being offered by utility, gas, and cable companies for Internet services, fiber and discounted rates?