Affluents School Board
- School board consolidations in Quebec have made the Affluents School Board responsible for 72 institutions
- To meet educational and administrative needs, the institutions needed to connect on a single communications network
- Maximum reliability and performance were required, but at minimal expense
“The major savings are reinvested in our schools and benefit both students and teachers.”
Bernard Lemonnier, IT Manager, Affluents School Board
- Working with TELUS, the Board built a high performance broadband optical fibre private network
- A 100 Mbps connection links the Board’s 8,500 computers
- Connections are shared with two other Boards, providing Internet access for more than 20,000 computers
- The project was leveraged with the addition of IP telephony
- Overall network and IP telephony investment was recovered in three years
- Major savings have been reinvested in schools, benefiting both students and teachers
- Educational outcomes are enhanced, thanks to powerful video applications and high speed access to a vast amount of information, educational aids and more
- Customized voice mail on the IP telephony system ensures teachers and administrators never miss important calls
- Bandwidth can be increased on demand, allowing the Board to scale its network as its needs grow
Located north-east of Montreal, the Affluents School Board serves 72 educational institutions from its administrative centre in Repentigny. It supports pre-school, elementary and high school programs, as well as occupational training and adult education. To connect its various institutions to each other and enable it to deliver truly transparent educational and administrative services, the Board needed a high-speed, high-performance network.
As early as 1994, the Affluents School Board became one of the first in Quebec to experiment with the Internet and make it available in its schools. This was hardly surprising, as its Board of Directors is known for openness to new technologies. The Board has always examined development opportunities closely, and in the 1990s, foresaw the current convergence of voice, data and video.
In the late 1990s, a number of school boards in Quebec were merged, resulting in fewer boards, each responsible for more institutions. “Our challenge was to connect all the institutions on a single communications network in an effort to answer both our educational and administrative needs,” says Bernard Lemonnier, IT Manager of the Affluents School Board. “We needed a reliable, high-performance network infrastructure, while also keeping communications expenses to a minimum.”
“This is the context in which our business relationship with TELUS began,” he remembers. As trust grew, so did the relationship. With the help of TELUS, the Affluents School Board built a high performance broadband optical fibre private network stretching over 200 km. This technology became the model for most school boards in Quebec.
“When we made the decision to expand the use of optical fibre to all our schools in 1998, we leveraged the project by adding IP telephony,” says Lemonnier. A total of 1,400 Cisco IP phones were installed, including more than 250 in the administrative centre. The School Board manages and hosts the equipment. Lemonnier is impressed with the flexibility of IP telephony, especially its voice mail capabilities, which have been customized to meet the specific needs of users and institutions.
The School Board’s computer service needs were just as important. A 100 Mbps broadband connection now links the Board’s 8,500 computers to the Internet. The Affluents School Board shares these connections with the Laval and Mille-Îles School Boards through the interconnection of their respective networks. In total, the combined network provides Internet access for more than 20,000 computers. “That’s not all,” says Lemonnier “We can still increase bandwidth on demand.”
Drawing on TELUS expertise, the School Board is also about to deploy an innovative e-911 service which will replace the traditional 911 service. “This system will allow for more accurate information to be communicated to emergency services,” explains Lemonnier.
“We would not even think of questioning our alliance with TELUS,” says Lemonnier. “We have been set up for success, all the way from the infrastructure to IP telephony and high- speed Internet.” Added to this is the fact that the School Board recovered its overall network and IP telephony investment in only three years. “The major savings are reinvested in our schools and benefit both students and teachers,” Lemonnier points out. As an example, he cites the powerful video applications now available to teachers, enabling them to offer more stimulating experience to students.
“We are very satisfied with TELUS service levels, which were maintained from beginning to end. We established a real partnership with this company,” concludes Lemonnier. IP Networks are an important part of enhancing Government transformation.
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Overall network and IP telephony ROI achieved in three years, with savings reinvested in schools. Educational outcomes enhanced. Customized voice mail ensures teachers and board employees never miss important calls.
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Affluents School Board