Delaware taps Verizon for state broadband network improvements

Verizon and the state of Delaware have partnered on new improvements to the statewide broadband network to provide state and school district services including support for data center consolidation initiatives, telework and increased capacity. CivSource spoke with Bill Hickox, chief operating officer of the Delaware Department of Technology and Information (DTI) and Bette DeRogatis, area vice president for Verizon about the partnership and what it means for Delaware.

Technology officials in Delaware reached out to Verizon when they started to exceed the capacity of their existing system which relied heavily on T1 lines. As the state’s use of their network increased, they were faced with restricting and prioritizing traffic – choices which were starting to create productivity problems for state agencies and school districts. According to DeRogatis, Delaware is one of Verizon’s largest customers in the Northeast so when the state come to the company for solutions it made business sense to go the extra mile.

State technology officials asked the company to invest in new backbone and broadband infrastructure throughout Delaware. “We said, you build it we will come,” Hickox said of the project which is the largest deployment Verizon has ever done for a single state. Now, all schools and state agencies in Delaware have at a minimum a 10 mbps circuit, some have 100 mbps.

With this new network, the state has plans to begin consolidating data centers – an initiative which is expected to save nearly $5 million annually. Delaware was also able to implement online real-time testing for students statewide and no longer has to restrict traffic or use of the state’s technology systems due to capacity issues.

When asked if Verizon has plans for similar deployments in the region DeRogatis said that the company may provide similar services in the future but currently has no plans to repeat a deployment of this scale in the area. Neighboring Rhode Island is currently working on its own broadband and technology upgrade “Beacon 2.0,” which will be funded through a federal stimulus grant of $21.7 million and matched with $10.7 million in private investment. Cable for that project will be installed and maintained by COX Business.