What is the purpose of the Waterloo Region Education and Public Network (WREPNet)?

To develop and maintain a high-speed, cost-effective information network that will provide the technology needed to be at the forefront of information, education and business demands.

What is an education community network and what are the goals of this network?

WREPNet is a strategic alliance of the school boards, local governments, public libraries and the local community college. Leveraging the strength and resources of this unique partnership, WREPNet connects approximately 327 individual sites at schools, municipal government offices, and public libraries to a high-speed, secure network that will provide access to improved information services and solutions.

What are the roles of the partners?

Each partner has shared in the cost of building the network, and will share the cost of operating and maintaining the network. By combining their resources, partners will be able to provide significantly improved information services and technology for their clients and at a more cost-effective price.

Who has control of this network? Which partner is in charge?

The network is governed by a Steering Committee with representation from all of the partners.

What are the advantages of this network to the Waterloo Region?

This fibre-optic network will contribute to the growth, prosperity and quality of life within the communities of Waterloo Region. WREPNet creates a large-scale community network that will give our students and other residents the competitive edge they need to compete in a knowledge-based economy.

How does this venture improve educational opportunities for students in the Waterloo Region?

The WREPNet network provides a cost-effective solution to the growing information and technology needs of the school boards and all the partners. The network will allow the schools to provide all learners with more services, faster, at a significantly lower cost. Better access to information and technology will give students the competitive edge they need for success in today’s knowledge-based economy. Bringing the resources and knowledge of the world into our classrooms is not a luxury – it is essential to education in the 21st century.

Who will have access to the network?

Each partner’s staff and clients will have access to the network as defined by the partner. Library customers, for example, will use the network when they use the online library system or access the Internet. Students will use the network every time they use a computer in the school or college to access or create information outside of the school. Municipal staff will use the network to conduct the day-to-day business of local and regional government.

Why can’t a network be hooked up through existing Internet access lines?

Existing Internet access providers would be too expensive to provide the speed, capacity, flexibility and security of the fibre-optic lines WREPNet is using.

What will people find on this network that we can’t already find on the Internet?

The network is not focused on content. Rather, it is a tool that allows each partner to provide access to whatever information and services it decides to make available to its users. The cities and the Region, for example, will use WREPNet largely for internal data that is needed to serve the public. Other organizations, like the libraries, will use the network to provide services directly to their customers via Internet-based products.

What about security issues? What precautions have been taken to ensure the security of this network?

WREPNet has provide the best possible security for all of the partners. While the details of security must remain private, appropriate security software is in place to assure that only approved traffic moves through the network.