Growing trees on private land complicate internet service to Crittenden Co. school; superintendent: fiber optic line planned but faster resolution sought

Crittenden Press, Marion, Sept. 1, 2016

Trees bogging down CCES internet signal
Staff report

Trees are creating big waves for web surfers at Critteden County Elementary School.

The internet is being bogged down by a growth in this summer's foliage, causing major bandwidth problems at the school, which has about 800 faculty, staff and students.

The school district transmits internet over a radio signal from its server at the high school to the elementary school. Growth of trees on private property between the two locations is inhibiting the signal.

"We've got from about 1,000 Mbit/s to about 10 Mbit/s," said Superintendent Vince Clark. "Most homes have more than that, so you can imagine the situation it's creating for all those students and teachers."

Students at CCES are preparing to begin online i-Ready testing that will require a better online connection.

Clark said the school district has been approved for a telecommunications grant to help construct a fiber optic line between the system server at the high school campus and the elementary school. However, it will be later in September, if not longer, before that work will be complete. The new fiber line will cost more than $100,000 to build, but the district's share will be only about $12,000. Paducah Power has the contract to install the line.

Once the line is installed, the school should be operating at 10 times the initial internet speed.

Meantime, the superintendent says he is working with private landowners between the two schools, trying to identify the problematic trees and do something about them, which will likely mean trimming or removal.

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