CalArts enters into agreement with city to improve internet service on campus

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California Institute of the Arts will soon have access to faster internet on campus while saving on monthly costs through a three-year agreement with the city of Santa Clarita, following a vote by the City Council on Tuesday. 

Council members’ vote greenlighted the agreement, with three optional three-year renewal choices, to license two city-owned dark fiber strands and provide internet transport service to the college. 

A year ago, the City Council voted to lease two dark fiber strands to downtown Los Angeles, which created a physical connection from the city to L.A., ultimately connecting the city to multiple internet service providers previously not accessible locally. 

Through that agreement, Santa Clarita will, essentially, operate as a gateway between CalArts and internet service providers in L.A. 

“This will help CalArts expand its technology infrastructure, provide greater access and allow for new options in providers,” Jesse Smith, CalArts’ associate vice president, said in a prepared statement. “We hope this is the first of many collaborations with the city, state government, local businesses and innovative entrepreneurs.”

The institution’s current internet connection of 1 Gbps costs “eight times more per month than what comparable service using an (internet service provider) located in DTLA charges,” according to a city agenda report.

The agreement will also generate $18,000 per year in revenue for the city. One-time construction costs to deploy fiber from McBean Parkway to CalArts’ data center will cost $27,400 and will be split equally with a one-time cost of $13,700 for the city, according to the agenda report. 

Construction is expected to commence during the summer to enable connectivity before the start of the fall semester. 

CalArts officials announced on July 1 a three-model class return for the fall semester: entirely remote learning for lecture-oriented courses, a hybrid model that blends remote and in-person learning for small-group, lab or studio-based work, and fully in-person learning for movement- and performance-rich offerings, and those that depend heavily on equipment housed on campus. Housing on campus will not be offered this fall. 

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