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Peabody Veterans Memorial High School Celebrates One-of-a-Kind Fiber-Optics Lab in Partnership with Astound Broadband

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(Photo courtesy of Astound Broadband. From left to right: Michael Campbell of Astound, Peabody Mayor Ted Bettencourt, Student Amelia Stewart, Teacher Dale Larocque, Student Dante Colacchio, Mark Bentley of Astound, Peabody Schools Supt. Josh Vadala, Peabody VMHS Principal Brooke Randall)

(Boston, MA) – June 11, 2024 – Astound Broadband (Astound), an award-winning provider of Internet, mobile and TV services, recently participated in a celebration of Peabody Veterans Memorial High School’s (PVMHS) first-in-the-nation high school fiber-optics lab and internship program. Astound, in partnership with PVMHS’s Careers and Technical Educational (CTE) Program, helped build the lab in 2022, to teach the students about fiber-optic installation and repair. The program includes both classroom and on the job instruction. The internship program is now in its third year with six students completing the internship program.

At the event, Mark Bentley, Switch Transport Manager who oversees the internship program for Astound, said that the company wanted to donate its time and expertise so that PVMHS could have the best and first fiber-optic teaching lab in the country. “We are looking forward to the next generation being trained in the field of fiber-optics, and the partnership will provide skilled and certified technicians to fill critical positions. This is an incredible opportunity for the students to learn state of the art tech skills, and for Astound Broadband, as we help to create a program that we hope can be modeled elsewhere,” said Bentley.

At the event, student Amelia Stewart described her experience as an Astound intern, “My passion is the innovation for the future. I want to be part of it. This lab is hope for my future. Working with Astound is perfect opportunity to embrace my passions.”

“Our partnership with Astound accelerated our electronics program and has put Peabody at the forefront of education and training in fiber-optics,” said Brooke Randall, PVMHS Principal. “Under the guidance of teacher Dale Larocque combined with Astound’s on the job training, our students are becoming certified with highly technical skills that will help them in any career path they choose.”

The PVMHS fiber-optic lab provides students with a practical, in-class experience to enhance their instruction and provides the instructor with the ability to customize lab exercises to adapt to students’ various learning styles. The lab includes active, long-distance circuits, travelling across multiple points in Astound’s Massachusetts fiber network and returning to the lab. At this lab, students have been able to run exercises, trouble shoot problems and build their skills and experience for a career in fiber-optics. Astound created this paid internship program for students to acquire on-the-job skills by working in internships supervised by Astound technicians.

The event also recognized the Fiber Optics Association, who certified the lab as a training facility. The lab includes fiber-optic racks, patch panels, transmission equipment and other materials used in the industry today.


About Astound Broadband
Astound Broadband (astound.com) is the sixth largest cable operator in the U.S., providing award-winning services, fiber-powered internet, TV, mobile, landline phone and fiber optic solutions for residential and business customers across the United States. Astound Broadband is comprised of organizations formerly known as RCN, Grande Communications, Wave Broadband, and enTouch. The company services Chicago, Indiana, Eastern Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New York City, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Texas, regions throughout California, Oregon, and Washington.

Media Contact
Ann Murphy