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Network links will aid education in area
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Three communications networks in north Georgia have come together to form an education network.

NGN, Parker FiberNet and ETC Communications announced during a press conference in Ellijay on Thursday that they would be working together to form a 30-county network comprised of nearly 36,000 miles of fiber, high capacity network in order to link together schools.

"What we launched ... was the North Georgia Education Exchange," said local director Charlie Auvermann. "This joint effort between the North Georgia Network, which covers Dawson County and a dozen other counties in the north Georgia region, the Ellijay Telephone Company, which covers a number of counties north and west of us, and the Parker FiberNet, which includes Rome and the counties to the west of us, all the way to the Alabama boarder."

By linking these systems together, Auvermann said that the systems would be able to share data at a rapid pace.
"The education exchange is basically 30 different school districts, across the 30 counties, including various colleges, universities and technically schools," he said. "It provides a 10 gigabit network that links all of these schools and universities together, which allows virtual classes, video production and audio-video capacity to televise classes from one system to another or televise and transmit events in real time to anybody and everybody in the system."

The impacts of this network will also be seen in Dawson County, as the school system is on the network, according to Auvermann.

"What this immediately allows is the ability for the Dawson County school system to connect to higher post-secondary education systems and televise or transmit class studies or lectures or speeches and projects uninterrupted without any kind of delays caused by antiquated communication systems," he said.

"The Dawson County school system is already part of the North Georgia Network, so this allows them to expand their capabilities even further and allows reporting capabilities and the sharing of data amongst the system."

While there were no specifics ready to be shared at this time, Auvermann said that the network would be looking to expand further in time.

"We are working to expand beyond 30 counties and to link other university systems and to incorporate other counties on the fringes of the system," he said. "There's a lot of work ongoing by quite a few of us to try to move this to the next level beyond what we've done so far. We want to make sure that Dawson County and our surrounding neighbors have every opportunity to be part of the digital economy."