Mayor Chris Beutler today announced partnership between Lincoln City Libraries (LCL) and NebraskaLink to greatly improve LCL’s broadband capabilities. NebraskaLink successfully applied to the Public Services Commission (PSC) for $334,000 from the Nebraska Universal Service Fund to build connections from all eight library locations to the fiber network. The only cost to LCL will be for upgrading its own equipment.
LCL current operates with 20 megabits per second (Mpbs). Connecting to the fiber network will increase the capacity to 1 gigabit per second (1 Gpbs), a 1,000 percent improvement in bandwidth. The connectivity could increase to 10 Gpbs in the future.
“Connecting to the fiber network will give library customers much faster Internet service on wireless devices and on in-library computers,” Mayor Beutler said. “We are especially excited about how this will benefit Lincoln Public Schools as the District moves forward with providing tablets and other technology for students. The fiber connections will provide better wireless Internet for students outside of school. This partnership will help prepare our students for the workforce of tomorrow. I want to thank NebraskaLink, our excellent library system and the PSC for making this project possible.”
Library Director Pat Leach said the fiber connections allow LCL to access Internet through NetworkNebraska, an educational Internet provider also used by LPS. Students’ tablets will connect automatically to the LPS network when they enter an LCL location. “For low-income families with school-age children who do not have a broadband connection at home, the access provided by the Lincoln Library Network may be the only source of broadband Internet access available to the student,” Leach said.
“The Libraries’ plan to increase access to global information is critical for our students, who will use this infrastructure to support their learning that, increasingly, requires access to digital content,” said Kirk Langer, Chief Technology Officer for LPS. “This timely community partnership means LPS students can use the safe learning environment of the Lincoln City Libraries outside the school day. They will now have the type of network access necessary to support the devices LPS provides for students from third through twelfth grade.”
“NebraskaLink is thrilled with the opportunity the PSC’s Broadband Adoption Grant presents to partner with the Lincoln City Libraries and the City to deliver a long term connectivity solution offering the highest level of speed and reliability,” said Jason Axthelm, Vice President of Business Development for NebraskaLink. “We are especially pleased with the opportunity this project presents to provide connectivity to LPS students at the libraries and the cooperative connection to Network Nebraska.”
NebraskaLink will use 259,000 feet of existing fiber to complete the connection to the eight library locations. At a conservative lease rate of $58 per mile per month, NebraskaLink’s in-kind contribution to the project would total nearly $683,000. The goal is to have the network upgrade completed by the end of 2015.