June 24, 2008
New Edge and Edgenics to Build E-Learning Broadband Network for Schools
New Edge Networks, the business communications unit of EarthLink Inc. (NASDAQ:ELNK), says it has entered into a strategic business agreement with Edgenics Inc. to build and manage a national broadband network that will power innovative video-centric IP services, interactive distance learning and other Web 2.0 applications for schools.
Edgenics, a privately held company based in Matawan, N.J., entered into a projected multi-million-dollar agreement under which New Edge will build and manage a private network supported by Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) technology. New Edge will provide core broadband network resources to interconnect Edgenics' data-center facilities and support "last mile" broadband connections to end users.
To facilitate cost-effective deployment, New Edge is enabling Edgenics to collocate its computer servers and routers within carrier interconnection centers around the country. This arrangement provides Edgenics with local or near-local network nodes that can easily and cost-effectively interconnect with the regional network nodes of the schools. This helps reduce ongoing communications transport costs.
"This agreement is about demonstrating carrier flexibility and leveraging business relationships with other providers to help improve the quality of education for tomorrow's leaders," said Kevin Flaherty, vice president of sales for New Edge. "Edgenics will do well by doing something good for schools, especially those in rural areas and under-funded school districts."
New Edge will provide and manage a combination of broadband local access technologies with MPLS class of service to enable Edgenics to deliver video content over its IP network facilities in various modes such as live broadcasts, video on demand and two-way interactive videoconferencing.
"MPLS technology is important for the success of our program because of its ability to provide quality-of-service and class-of-service performance standards that are crucial for high-quality video delivery," said Robert Dansby, Ph.D., chairman and CEO of Edgenics.
"New Edge's new MPLS class of service over DSL certainly was a factor in our decision to partner with New Edge Networks," Dansby said. "The lower the cost at which we can provide our services, the better we can provide services that benefit schools and students."
New Edge was first to introduce MPLS class of service over DSL access. The service allows businesses to tag and prioritize applications data traffic using up to five classes of service over high-speed, low-cost DSL connections. New Edge honors these tags end to end across the customer's entire network.
Edgenics plans to expand its distance-learning programs and other video-centric services nationally in five phases. The first phase of the MPLS-based network deployment will support Edgenics e-Learning services for about 175 schools and learning centers, primarily in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and eastern Texas. It will also support the delivery of e-Learning services to schools in New Jersey, Michigan, Minnesota and Pennsylvania.
"There are a number of university studies that show that distance learning is more effective the more closely it approximates face-to-face engagement - the more closely it approximates being in the physical classroom with the teacher," Dansby said.
"Video is the most challenging component of a virtual face-to-face environment," Dansby said. "The infrastructure that many school districts have in place is unable to support the video-centric e-Learning services that are a focus of what Edgenics is doing."
Edgenics received $11.2 million of federal funding to help fund the first phase of this national initiative.
With its funding, Edgenics plans to provide broadband IP connections, technology and curriculum resources to schools, learning centers, universities and other educational institutions. Edgenics will offer video-centric distance-learning programs that help students and teachers around the country get affordable access to the latest academic curricula and certifications. Edgenics e-Learning Services offer a major boost to the quality of education, especially in areas where it is difficult to attract and retain teachers certified in math, science and foreign languages.
Edgenics is an e-Learning company that focuses on providing innovative technology-based learning solutions and services. Edgenics works closely with its university partners and education professionals to provide high-quality educational content and instructional resources. Edgenics provides leading-edge interactive multimedia online distance-learning services using integrated software, Internet and networking technologies. For more information visit www.edgenics.com or call 1-732-224-1000, ext. 11.
About New Edge Networks
New Edge Networks builds and manages private IP-based wide area networks that do not use the public Internet. Connecting business sites at virtually any address in the United States, New Edge allows businesses to choose any blend of available access technologies - from DSL and T1 lines to fiber-optic connections - for building private and secure MPLS networks with performance guarantees. A wholly owned subsidiary of Atlanta-based EarthLink Inc. (NASDAQ:ELNK), New Edge is based in Vancouver, Wash. For more information visit www.newedgenetworks.com or call 1-360-693-9009.