Fiber Solves This School’s Connectivity Issues

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For more than 15 years, St. Rita School in Solon, Ohio, used a combination of T1 lines and DSL to provide its computer lab with basic broadband connectivity. But in 2013, with the introduction of hundreds of iPads for its students, 15 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload no longer satisfied the school’s needs.

Bill Pistone, E-volvingIT

Bill Pistone

“When they brought in those 200 iPads, the problem just got dropped in our laps,” says Bill Pistone, owner of E-volvingIT ( Pistone is a technology consultant to a number of small and medium-size businesses and K-12 education market. He has served St. Rita School for the last 15 years. “They brought in the devices before the infrastructure to support them was worked out. That’s the way schools work. If they get the devices, they’re going to go with it.”

After that, Pistone recalls the daily notifications that the Internet had gone down; sometimes for minutes, sometimes for hours. He struggled through the rest of the school year trying to work with the provider’s tech support staff to solve the daily issues.

“The telecommunications industry doesn’t seem to have that sense of urgency to get resolution of an issue,” says Pistone. “My view is that if I’m buying business-class service, I shouldn’t have to wait a day to get resolution. I shouldn’t have to sit in a queue for hours only to get a message that they will have to call me back.”

As frustration grew, Pistone searched for alternatives only to conclude that none of the existing providers could get the school to the right level. Finally, at the suggestion of the school’s business manager, he investigated OneCommunity and was delighted to find that installation of a fiber-optic network connection would be possible.

“I talked with the sales and the technical staff and it seemed like it was very easy to communicate and get through to people,” he says. “OneCommunity was very business-oriented and service-oriented from the get-go. The entire implementation couldn’t have been more than 90 days.” Pistone found this especially remarkable since the switch required engineering, provisioning and installation of a fiber line from the OneCommunity hub to the school.

St. Rita School purchased a 100 Mbps up and down connection. Pistone notes that, thanks to fiber-optic technology, expanding the service as their needs increase only requires a software reconfiguration.

Now, Pistone says his St. Rita clients call him “the Maytag Repairman” because they hardly ever need to contact him concerning Internet access. On the rare occasion that he has required assistance from the OneCommunity Network Operations Center, he’s been pleased with how quickly resolution has been reached.

“OneCommunity is truly a one-stop-shop,” says Pistone. “They provide the fiber, they provide the connectivity, they know the devices, they know the technology, they know data. That’s the key.”

About St. Rita School

St. Rita School in Solon, Ohio, is a private, Catholic school founded in 1949. It currently enrolls 430 students in its Pre-K-8 curriculum. It serves the Catholic educational needs of nine neighboring parishes and 25 different school districts. Each classroom is equipped with Apple TV and electronic, interactive whiteboards that can be linked to each teacher’s wireless laptop for instant access to the internet. The school has also integrated iPads into its curriculum for students to use in and out of the classroom.  St. Rita School is the recipient of the U.S. Dept. of Education’s prestigious National Blue Ribbon Award. During the 2013-2014 school year, the school received the Governor’s Thomas Edison Award for Excellence in STEM Education.

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