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Officials say yes to fiber optic
Schools ink $264K deal
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The Dawson County Board of Education has inked a $264,000 deal in an effort to bring faster high-speed Internet to local schools.


The school board voted unanimously last week to allow a non-profit organization to construct and provide access to a fiber optic network for all Dawson County schools and the central office.


Construction costs will come from the fourth iteration of the Education Local Option Sales Tax, or ELOST IV, approved in 2009 by local voters.


Carol Helton, district technology supervisor, said a new fiber optic network could drastically increase current Internet speeds.


“In addition, it will tie all of our schools together,” Helton said.


Non-profit organization, Connect North Georgia, is charged with construction of the network.


Helton said Connect North Georgia “was set up as an organization to comply with the [North Georgia Network’s] business model.”


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.


A portion of the non-recurring cost of $264,000 may be shared through an agreement with Dawson County government, according to Superintendent Keith Porter.


“It would be mutually beneficial to everyone,” Porter said.


Construction could begin next month.