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Network, schools could strike deal
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The Dawson County Board of Education is considering an agreement with nearby development authorities in an effort to bring faster high-speed Internet technology to local schools.


In coming weeks, the school board will take a look at a fiber optics opportunity, which would allow representatives with the North Georgia Network to use a small piece of land on school property for infrastructure.


Use of the property would guarantee speedy Internet service for schools, said Greg Richardson, a consultant for the North Georgia Network Project.


Richardson spoke at the Oct. 5 school board work session.


“We have negotiated with other school districts to use land that is owned by the district, and it’s been a really great partnership,” Richardson said. “It’s been great for us, and it provides a great deal of values for the school as well.”


If staff of the North Georgia Network strike a deal with the school system, a 50-foot-by-foot building will be constructed near one of the schools to house telecommunications equipment.


“We’ve proposed to connect all school facilities with very, very high speed fiber optic connections,” Richardson said.


“When we began this project, we realized this network was likely going to be built on a foundation of education,” he said. “The technology of communities in this region is centered in schools.”


Superintendent Keith Porter said the board of education will continue to look at the agreement and could soon vote on the matter.


“It is a wonderful opportunity,” Porter said. “We’re tremendously excited.”


According to its Web site, the North Georgia Network is an initiative by the Economic Development Authorities of Dawson, Habersham, Lumpkin, Union and White counties to stimulate economic growth by improving broadband infrastructure in the North Georgia region.


Construction on the network could begin next month, according to Richardson.