Sunday, August 23, 2009

States Expanding Broadband

The Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI), a Division of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative has submitted two proposals for $105 million to obtain stimulus funding to expand broadband in the western part of the state.

A request for $100 million was sent to the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program seeking funds to build a broadband fiber infrastructure to provide services to 43 unserved and underserved communities in western Massachusetts. Specifically, the MBI proposes to build a fiber “middle mile” network throughout the region and then provide direct connection to regional anchor institutions and critical community facilities.

In addition to the $100 million request, a proposal was submitted for $5 million for statewide broadband mapping to the State Broadband Data and Development Program.

In Illinois, an RFP was posted on August 14th seeking proposals to provide fiber-based facilities to service five regions in the State of Illinois for the Illinois Rural HealthNet (IRHN) project. The regions for service include Northern Illinois, Urbana Central, Southern Illinois, Springfield West and Bloomington Northwest.

In the first phase of work, the IRHN will be managing a $21,063,528 award from the FCC’s Rural Health Care Pilot Program and will use the funding to construct a network to connect 85 rural communities to sources that provide specialized healthcare. High speed networking for rural hospitals, clinics, and mental health facilities will be maintained to allow rural patients access to telemedicine and telehealth services to enable remote diagnostics.

When completed, the IRHN will provide for virtually instantaneous transfer of diagnostic images for treating cardiology, neurology, and oncology patients, virtual consults for trauma patients, psychiatric services, and have the ability to use electronic medical records to improve access to patient information.

Future IRHN efforts will focus on expanding network connections to other Illinois healthcare providers and be able to help researchers collaborate, provide continuing medical education, help in gathering public health data, plus improve capabilities to better handle medical emergencies and disaster recovery.

For more information, go to Click on Funding year 2009 then go to Illinois RFP#02. For email, go to or call 1-800-229-5476.