By Emily Greenhalgh
PBN Web Editor
PROVIDENCE – Using a federal grant of $27 million and $10 million in private investment, Oshean and Cox Business have been installing a high-capacity, high-speed fiber optic network across the state.
The network will help allow medical consultations statewide as well as across the nation. In addition, it will assist hospitals in providing ready access to electronic medical records and decrease expensive testing.
“These [examples] are part of the future of health care, and all depend on an affordable high-speed, high-capacity broadband infrastructure,” said an Oshean release.
On Monday, CharterCARE Health System became the first health care organization in the state to “light” the new high-capacity fiber network, Beacon 2.0.
“Beacon 2.0 provides affordable, high-capacity, broadband connectivity that will enhance the quality and efficiency of health care for patients and providers,” said the release.
Other Rhode Island health care institutions will soon follow in CharterCARE’s footsteps, according to Oshean.
Thirteen hospital buildings and two health care organizations will soon connect to the high-capacity network.
“Beacon 2.0 provides the cyber-infrastructure - the fiber optic superhighway - that can serve as the foundation for the health care system’s technological transformation,” Tim Rue, chief technology officer at Oshean, said in prepared remarks.
The high-capacity fiber network was funded by a $21.7 million federal stimulus grant and $10.7 million in private investment.
The network, which also will connect colleges, universities, schools, libraries and government offices, “will provide necessary cyber-infrastructure to support the state’s growing knowledge economy and the hundreds of industries and jobs it is expected to create,” according to the release.
“This project isn’t only a one-time injection of spending into the economy. It is laying the foundation we need to support our students, expand our businesses, and improve the overall ability of our state to better compete with our neighbors,” said U.S. Rep. James R. Langevin, D-R.I., in prepared remarks.
To date, 374 total miles of fiber have been installed.
The network has been installed and tested in Providence, Kent and Bristol counties and Newport County is currently in the testing phase.
The Beacon 2.0 network is expected to be completed by the spring of 2013.