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These three educational institutions all sought Internet solutions that could keep up with bandwidth demands while controlling costs. Each one found what it needed — and more — from Frontier.
Located on a 123-acre residential campus in Dallas, Pennsylvania, Misericordia University is a broad-based liberal arts and pre-professional studies college that also offers graduate programs. Total enrollment is currently more than 2,300 students.
Misericordia is a member of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania (AICUP) and is one of the institutions taking part in the group’s Wide Area Network (WAN) from Frontier. Mark Reboli, Manager of IT Services and Security for Misericordia, participated in the process that lead to Frontier’s selection as the provider. Reboli notes, “There were a number of things we liked about Frontier, starting with the fact they have a good presence in the area. Many AICUP members already had successful working relationships with Frontier that included great response time and support. Finally, Frontier had the ability to handle this WAN project and the required infrastructure.”
Reboli adds, “Prior to the consortium effort, most of these institutions had a ‘mixed bag’ of Internet services. But as a group, we were all looking for solidarity on an ISP for better pricing and increased bandwidth capacity. Our institutions work together a great deal, so we wanted the collaboration that a WAN offered.”
For Misericordia, joining the WAN had immediate benefits. Says Reboli, “Right out of the gate, we picked up more Internet bandwidth; we went from 100mg to 150mg. We also had all-fiber circuits that eliminated the storm problems we previously experi-enced. Our Internet capacity is now capable of doing 1G; it’s just a phone call to Frontier away. We know our bandwidth needs will continue to grow. With the WAN, this growth can be done quickly and easily without a change in infrastructure. What’s more, because AICUP worked together on this, it got the price down. Misericordia is getting more bandwidth for practically the same monthly cost.”
Luzerne County Community College
Luzerne County Community College is a public two-year college offering associate degree, certificate and diploma programs. The main campus is located in Nanticoke, Pennsylvania, and there are additional College Centers in Berwick, Wilkes-Barre, Hazleton, Kulpmont and Northumberland.
“Luzerne has been a Frontier customer for more than a dozen years,” says Don Nelson, Chief Technology Officer, Luzerne County Community College. “Our main campus has always used Frontier for Internet and phone services, and we got on board when AICUP extended an invitation to Luzerne to take advantage of the WAN and group buying power. It provided us with an opportunity to increase our bandwidth from 40mg to a 100 mg connection,” he explains.
Nelson adds, “This was also an opportunity for Luzerne to provide more robust connections for our five satellite College Centers. Before we joined the WAN, these centers just had T-1s through copper that provided 3mg; now they enjoy 20mg connections. In addition, Luzerne put in new facilities in down-town Nanticoke — a Culinary Arts Center and a Health Sciences Center. Frontier provides Internet for these buildings as well.”
According to Nelson, Luzerne’s need for more bandwidth and decision to join the WAN were due in part to the following:
Increased use of video conferencing – This is now becoming more common during classes and staff meetings.
Installation of VoIP phone systems – VoIP gives College Centers the feeling of being part of the main campus and provide voice mail features and three-digit extensions. Without the WAN, Luzerne couldn’t successfully utilize VoIP. “The WAN gives us a private network with high quality,” notes Nelson.
File sharing – Luzerne used to use VPN, but the WAN is faster and has better facilities for sharing documents and files with staff. “We were able to go from 40mg to 100mg without any increased cost, so choosing the WAN from Frontier was a winwin, no-brainer decision. And we knew from experience that Frontier would always go the extra mile for us,” Nelson says.
York College of Pennsylvania
York College of Pennsylvania offers more than 50 baccalaureate majors in professional programs, the sciences and humanities as well as master’s programs in business, education and nursing. Its suburban campus is located in south-central Pennsylvania. York College is a member of AICUP in the central group. But unlike Misericordia University and Luzerne County Community College, it is not a part of the WAN developed for AICUP by Frontier. York College does, however, participate in the consortium purchasing of commodity Internet by AICUP members.
Bob Robinson, Director of Information Technology, York College of Pennsylvania, recalls, “I’d been following the AICUP approach from the beginning since we also need to minimize the cost of Internet access. I learned that the northeast region of AICUP did well with their consortium purchase, so when Frontier asked if we wanted to join in, we decided to take them up on the offer. Not only are we getting increased bandwidth, but compared to our old costs, we’re seeing almost two-to-one savings.”
Frontier already served as the ISP and phone company for York College. Notes Robinson, “We were originally at 65mg with Frontier and needed to get past 100mg so we could connect to a 1GB port. During this transition period, we ran up against some limitations. Frontier went above and beyond the call of duty and solved the issue very quickly, collaborating with our staff and others. It was the first time I’ve seen a college be able to work directly with the technical people at an ISP.”
He continues, “Frontier is listening to what we say and implementing solutions to every question we ask. It’s clear that Frontier has our best interests in mind. Going forward, I know York College will need even more bandwidth and Frontier will continue to play an important role.