“Our remote teachers have reliable, high-quality VoIP and Internet connectivity to effectively run their classrooms, and our help desk is no longer inundated with support calls. Now, we qualify for an additional $100,000 in E-rate savings.”
—Kirby Okuda, Operations Manager, NVVA
Previously, NVVA teachers turned to local residential providers for Internet service to conduct online classes. This resulted in wide disparities in connectivity types and speeds. The lack of reliable bandwidth frequently caused teaching sessions to drop.
By partnering with Fusion Connect, the academy has committed to a better learning experience for its students. “For optimal online education, it’s key to always have access to reliable bandwidth,” Okuda says. “When [Fusion Connect] told us they could provide us with Voice services and provide high-speed bandwidth to all of our teachers – no matter where in the state they lived – we didn’t believe it at first. But that’s exactly what Fusion Connect has done.”
Since teachers had to be reimbursed for their home Internet usage, Okuda and his staff received 140 erratically arriving expense reports each month. “We’d have three office workers devoting excess time just to process the expense reports,” Okuda says. “Since combining our telecom services for all of our teachers onto one bill, these employees are freed up for projects that bring value to NVVA in terms of online learning advancements.”
The single-bill plan has also helped qualify the academy for additional government E-Rate subsidies, designed to assist schools and libraries in covering communications costs. “We only received $30,000 in E-rate subsidies for our Voice services. When we migrated to [Fusion Connect] business-class Internet services and put our Voice and broadband expenses onto one bill, we were able to demonstrate that our Internet services qualified as well,” Okuda says. “Our E-rate savings now total $140,000 a year, which covers 80% of our telecom expenses.”
With NVVA’s previous vendor, teachers’ calls were frequently lost and Okuda received daily support calls complaining about Internet service issues. Because the quality of VoIP calls was directly tied to each teacher’s residential Internet service, it was frustrating to get to the source of an issue.
“There was a lot of finger pointing, without actually resolving the problem,” Okuda says. “Worse, these vendors charged us for support calls.” Today, Fusion Connect is responsible for all voice and Internet service and support. “For the few issues that do arise, [Fusion Connect] is quick to respond in a very positive, results-focused way.”
The previous VoIP vendor won the academy’s business largely due to its promise of a highly competitive rate. But the estimate did not include charges for various services which – due to the lack of call quality – became unavoidable.
“Every time a teacher contacted the vendor, we’d get charged,” Okuda says. “Every time someone on my team contacted the vendor, we’d get charged. By the end of the month, these calls doubled our bill. Now, 24/7/365 support is included. We start – and finish – with a very affordable rate.”
Founded in 2007, Nevada Virtual Academy is a charter public school that provides tuition-free K-12 online learning. Through a dual credit program, the academy partners with the Nevada System of Higher Education enabling high school students to earn college credit.
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“Since combining our telecom services for all of our teachers onto one bill, these employees are freed up for projects that bring value to NVVA in terms of online learning advancements.”
–Kirby Okuda, Operations Manager, NVVA
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