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MONTREAL, DECEMBER 5, 2001- In an unprecedented partnership, three leading edge school boards from the English and French sectors have entered into an agreement dealing with the deployment of a fibre optics computer network.

With technology being supplied by Bell Nexia, the English Montreal School Board (EMSB), the Lester B. Pearson School Board ( LBPSB) and the Commission Scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys (CSMB) have joined forces for this $4.7 million dollar project.

A press conference was held at École primaire Lévis-Sauvé in Verdun, a network distribution point for schools from each of three participating Boards, highlighted by a signing ceremony and service launch.

The implementation of the network this fall has linked all buildings of each board to their respective head offices. The speed of the respective networks has gone from 2.2 megabits to one gigabit (approximately 500 times faster).

CSMB Chairman Jean-Marc Crête emphasizes that the uniqueness of the solution lies in the fact that all of the infrastructure (fibre, telecommunication equipment and a support service agreement) is totally integrated. "As an example we are very proud to be here today at our very own École primaire Lévis-Sauvé which is one of the 13 focal points of the network," he says. "This sharing of infrastructure has allowed the three partners to create a strong and reliable network, including redundant equipment that allows schools to have alternate routes to services should the normal route fail."

Adds EMSB Chairman Dr. John Simms: "Speed of communication will no longer put a damper on the use of technology in the classroom. Pedagogical software and techniques using media, video and access to the Internet will now be supported by this robust network."

LBPSB Chairman Marcus Tabachnick points out that approximately 20 school boards have already undertaken steps to construct a fibre optics network for their schools. "Some have decided to share some portions of the network with other schools boards," he remarked. "However, this is the first time that all of the structure is totally integrated and shared by more than one board."

Michael J. Cohen
Communications and Marketing Specialist
English Montreal School Board
Tel: (514) 483-7200 ext. 7243
Fax: (514) 483-7213