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Trusted Business Relationship Continues

April 25, 2012

A consortium of central Minnesota schools and libraries recently chose to renew its WAN Services contract with MN.IT Services, a relationship with the State of Minnesota that has been ongoing for the past ten years.

The consortium of Central Region K12 schools and libraries, including 76 school districts and 46 public libraries, renewed its contract with MN.IT Services for wide area network (WAN) services. The contract included a bandwidth upgrade that will boost Internet access for more than 100 locations in central Minnesota. Many of these locations also use MN.IT’s videoconference services, which rely on the network.

The consortium is supported by the Central Minnesota Educational Research & Development Council, which is based in St. Cloud.  Known as “cmERDC,” it is the financial agent for the consortium and supports funding for the schools and libraries through the federal E-Rate program and the State’s Telecom Equity Aid program. Through these two programs, school districts and libraries get about 70 percent of the cost of services returned to them in grants.

MN.IT Services has been the chosen service provider for this consortium for the past ten years. However, the E-Rate program requires cmERDC to periodically seek new bids for services. As part of its bid, MN.IT Services was able to provide an advantageous cost opportunity to the consortium through negotiations with its vendor partners.

Under the new contract, most of the libraries will upgrade their network connections from 1.5Mbps to 10Mbps or 100Mbps. With this increased capacity, these schools and libraries will be able to meet the ever-increasing demand for network capacity and consider more shared services.

“The cmERDC recommends the work of MN.IT as a partner,” said Steve Hallan, who manages the consortium. “(MN.IT) has helped us continually provide cost-effective services for our students and library patrons. This bandwidth upgrade will improve citizens’ access to the Internet’s increasingly media-rich content in central Minnesota, and helps us make sure we’re up-to-speed with other districts and library branches throughout the state.”

MN.IT’s Product Manager Mark Nelson said the proven service relationship with the Central Region K12/Library Consortium, in turn, helps MN.IT Services maintain important service relationships in the school district and public library market. The recommendation from cmERDC is helping MN.IT seek expansion of its services to more school districts statewide. Currently, MN.IT’s network services are in use at about a quarter of Minnesota’s school districts.